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Howard Zinn 'A people's history..'


JP Raud Dugal
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I would like to work on Howar Zinn's book 'A people's history of the US'.

I have some adresses such as this one:

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Zinn/HZinn_page.html

I know how controversial this book is but as a teacher in European Section (teaching History in English), I was wondering if some of you have already worked on some parts of the book?

Jean Philippe

http://apella.ac-limoges.fr/lyc-perrier-tu...europ/index.htm

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I am also a great fan if Howard Zinn’s work. I have a short biography of him on my website.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAzinn.htm

I suppose in England the nearest we have to Zinn is E. P. Thompson and A. L. Morton:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/HIStompson.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JmortonAL.htm

Others who have tried to write history from the point of view of the working class is Christopher Hill, Eric Hobsbawm, Rodney Hilton, Raphael Samuel, George Rudé (yes England claims him as being on of ours.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/HIShillC.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/HIShilton.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/HISsamuelR.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/HIShobsbawm.htm

All these historians were associated with the History Workshop Group.

Do you have anyone like Zinn in France? Do you have an organization like the History Workshop Group in France? It would be interesting to hear from historians in other countries about similar organizations.

If would be interesting to hear from people who do not like Zinn. After all, his approach to history is hardly mainstream.

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Do you have anyone like Zinn in France? Do you have an organization like the History Workshop Group in France? It would be interesting to hear from historians in other countries about similar organizations. 

.

Thanks John for these precious information.

I will have a look to some of the authors you mentioned.

In France, I can't see some workshop groups like this one...But perhaps Daniel Letouzey could say something about that?

In France, we usually appreciate Zinn's work because we are not used with other views of the american history.

He is popular in some left wing newspaper such as Le Monde Diplomatique:

Monde Diplomatique

http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2002/09/ZINN/16811

There is an english ediion but I can't find these articles...sorry!

In seconde (15-16 yo students) we have to teach the importance of the English 'Habeas Corpus and Bill of Rights' and the American Constitution (2 hours...). Zinn's work on the American Constitution is a good start to discuss with the students about representation, I think. Perhaps other colleagues don't agree with that...?

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The History Workshop movement is an attempt to increase the study of groups that in the past have been largely neglected by historians. This includes the working class, women and ethnic minorities. Do other countries have similar movements?

Information about the History Workshop Journal can be found here:

http://www3.oup.co.uk/hiwork/contents/

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  • 6 months later...

I am a huge fan of Zinn's, but in America he is definately to controversial to use in the high school system. I have seen him used in college in both graduate and undergraduate work. This being said I do use excerpts from his books and speeches in my classes. His accounts of the Haymarket affair in Chicago during the late 1800's and the sinking of the Lusitania are probably the two I use the most. Again, my department chair has informed me that I should reference him as little as possible. Personally, I feel that if I am to give my students a well rounded education then they should hear a different view than what they hear from the nightly news or their parents. I intend to look into the links that John has suggested earlier, and I would like to know more about similar authors in Europe.

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I am a huge fan of Zinn's, but in America he is definately to controversial to use in the high school system.  I have seen him used in college in both graduate and undergraduate work.  This being said I do use excerpts from his books and speeches in my classes.  His accounts of the Haymarket affair in Chicago during the late 1800's and the sinking of the Lusitania are probably the two I use the most.  Again, my department chair has informed me that I should reference him as little as possible.  Personally, I feel that if I am to give my students a well rounded education then they should hear a different view than what they hear from the nightly news or their parents.  I intend to look into the links that John has suggested earlier, and I would like to know more about similar authors in Europe.

I cannot talk about the rest of Europe but I would suggest the two historians in the UK that best resemble Zinn are A. L. Morton (A People’s History of England) and J. F. C. Harrison (The Common People). Both these books were written for the general reader.

We of course have a lot of historians who produce books with a left-wing perspective. After the war a group of UK historians that included E.P. Thompson, Christopher Hill, Eric Hobsbawn, Rodney Hilton, Raphael Samuel, George Rudé, John Saville, Dorothy Thompson, Edmund Dell, Victor Kiernan and Maurice Dobb established the journal, Past and Present. Over the next few years the journal pioneered the study of working-class history. They were also involved in establishing the History Workshop (a group of socialist and feminist historians).

You can read about many of these figures on my website at:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Historians.htm

The problem with this group is that they have mainly written for an academic audience. Some like Hobsbawn have tried to write for a mass audience, but I would not claim this has been a success.

One of the reasons I created the Spartacus Educational website was to bring these ideas to a larger audience.

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  • 5 months later...

John,

I am here in reference to one of your posting above wherein in you have showed the desire of learning about various workshops of historians or the groups writing history from social and class perspective.

I desire to direct your attention to a following link:

www.india-seminar.com/2003/522.htm

The magazine is mainly a work of leftist historians but in India, the historians which are generally identified with Jwahar Lal Nehru (JNU) university and Jamia Milia Islamia now identified with work of Irfan Habib and his students (mostly on Medieveal Period), are mostly liberal but they adopt economic analysis in their interpertations. A book by Ishrat Hague "Glimpses of Mughal Society and Culture – A Study Based on Urdu Literature" which I think is available on amazon has adopted different methodolgy. I will soon post a review on this book. Though I have this book for a long time with me but I have found it as an adjunct to Muzaffar Alam's "The Crisis of Empire in the Mughal North India". It has given me an occassion to re-read the book of Muzaffar Alam which has delayed my review. Both of them are important especially for their strong case of reinterperating the social setup of India during the eighteenth century when the Mughal Empire was declining and the British Rule had yet to establish itself as a political force in India.

Another magazine which was receiving aid from ICHR is Social Scientist. I am not getting any reply from them. I have nearly forty Issues of that magazine which have different essays written based on different methodologies in history writing. There are special issues on women movement, the middle class social and political mobilization etc. I have yet read them seriously.

Indian History Congress in India is held every year. This year it will be held in Calcutta. Last year, it was held in Bereli. This conference also work as a workshop of historians. It is being held since 1952 on regular basis.

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