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From the Second to the Third International

3 Historical materialism: from the Second to the Third International Introduction The Second International of socialist parties was the undoubted custodian of Marxist ‘orthodoxy’ from its formation in 1889 until its de facto collapse at the outbreak of the First World War. While the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) was the organisational centre of the International, it would be a mistake to reductively explain its hegemony within the International as a simple function of its relative numerical strength; for Germany was also home to the International’s most

in Reflections on the Marxist theory of history

2 Marx, Engels and historical materialism Introduction In this chapter I outline Marx and Engels’s theory of history and its relationship to their revolutionary political practice. Many commentators would cite two reasons for dismissing such a project: first, Marx and Engels were not a unity, their ideas and arguments diverging markedly; and, second, neither Marx nor Engels individually produced a coherent and singular oeuvre. While there is obviously some truth in these claims, I have reservations about both of them. As to the suggestion that Marx’s and Engels

in Reflections on the Marxist theory of history
Keeping the crusades up to date

4 Empathy and materialism: keeping the crusades up to date During a course of lectures delivered in Munich in 1855, Heinrich von Sybel (1817–95) reflected on writers on the crusades. He had made his name a decade and a half earlier demolishing the reputation of William of Tyre and Albert of Aachen as reliable sources for the First Crusade and now suggested that ‘every new commentator must find fresh subject for interest and instruction according to his own requirements and inclinations’.1 The legacy of the Enlightenment had established the crusades as a

in The Debate on the Crusades
Trade, conquest and therapeutics in the eighteenth century

Medicine was transformed in the eighteenth century. Aligning the trajectories of intellectual and material wealth, this book uncovers how medicine acquired a new materialism as well as new materials in the context of global commerce and warfare. It studies the expansion of medicine as it acquired new materials and methods in an age of discovery and shows how eighteenth-century therapeutics encapsulates the intellectual and material resources of conquest. Bringing together a wide range of sources, the book argues that the intellectual developments in European medicine were inextricably linked to histories of conquest, colonisation and the establishment of colonial institutions. Medicine in the eighteenth-century colonies was shaped by the two main products of European mercantilism: minerals and spices. Forts and hospitals were often established as the first signs of British settlement in enemy territories, like the one in Navy Island. The shifting fortunes on the Coromandel Coast over the eighteenth century saw the decline of traditional ports like Masulipatnam and the emergence of Madras as the centre of British trade. The book also explores the emergence of materia medica and medical botany at confluence of the intellectual, spiritual and material quests. Three different forms of medical knowledge acquired by the British in the colonies: plants (columba roots and Swietenia febrifuga), natural objects and indigenous medical preparations (Tanjore pills). The book examines the texts, plants, minerals, colonial hospitals, dispensatories and the works of surgeons, missionaries and travellers to demonstrate that these were shaped by the material constitution of eighteenth century European colonialism.

attempts to reduce either agency to structure or vice versa. Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–80) made one of the earliest contributions to this discussion, in which he placed the free individual at the centre of his reconstruction of historical materialism; and while his project must ultimately be regarded as a failure, his critique of the schematic historiography of Stalinism undoubtedly marked a positive contribution to the renewal of historical materialism in the post-war decades. While Sartre’s was the towering voice of the post-war French and international left, his star

in Reflections on the Marxist theory of history
Abstract only

rather through language. Indeed, while many cultural historians could trace their research agenda back to an early interest in Marxism, the implications of the cultural turn seemed to be as damning of historical materialism as they were of traditional empiricist (positivist) history: Bonnell and Hunt argued that ‘in the face of these intellectual trends and the collapse of communist systems in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, Marxism as an interpretive and political paradigm has suffered a serious decline’.1 While Bonnell and Hunt are undoubtedly right to

in Reflections on the Marxist theory of history

The recent emergence of global anti-capitalist and anti-war movements have created a space within which Marxism can flourish in a way as it has not been able to for a generation. This book shows that by disassociating Marxism from the legacy of Stalinism, Marxist historiography need not retreat before the criticisms from theorists and historians. It also shows that, once rid of this incubus, Marx's theory of history can be shown to be sophisticated, powerful and vibrant. The book argues that Marxism offers a unique basis to carry out a historical research, one that differentiates it from the twin failures of the traditional empiricist and the post-modernist approaches to historiography. It outlines Marx and Engels' theory of history and some of their attempts to actualise that approach in their historical studies. The book also offers a critical survey of debates on the application of Marx's concepts of 'mode of production' and 'relations of production' in an attempt to periodise history. Marxist debates on the perennial issue of structure and agency are considered in the book. Finally, the book discusses competing Marxist attempts to periodise the contemporary post-modern conjuncture, paying attention to the suggestion that the post-modern world is one that is characterised by the defeat of the socialist alternative to capitalism.

– were drawn only in the 1960s; however, these and related words were also being used in similar senses thirty years previously. 1 ‘Secular’ had neutral, negative and positive connotations in the Oldham group, evoking, respectively, a shared ‘common life’, a dangerous ‘materialism’ and an appreciation of science. Group members even saw a role for secular actors and ideas in pursuing a more Christian culture. However, finding a middle way along Oldham’s ‘frontier’ also meant emphasising faith’s distinctiveness and its absolute necessity in building a better society. In

in This is your hour
Real sympathy, the imitation of suffering and the visual arts after Burke’s sublime

terror, ‘supped’ so ‘full with horrors’ and grown so ‘familiar with real Aris Sarafianos 179 distresses’ that, given the chance, they would swarm the theatre to enjoy any fictitious distress on offer.65 Moreover, to stress again the political stakes imbricated in this debate, Knight portrayed Burke’s real sympathy and its founding stone, the physicality of pain, as another stage in the odious road to sedition or, more aptly, ‘materialism’. For Knight, the fact that Burke raised ‘physical danger and pain’ into his prime means of the sublime, meant that ‘all the

in The hurt(ful) body

This book investigates the ways in which the crusades have been observed by historians from the 1090s to the present day. Especial emphasis is placed on the academic after-life of the crusades from the sixteenth to twenty-first centuries. The use of the crusade and its history, by humanists and other contemporary writers, occupied a world of polemic, serving parochial religious, cultural and political functions. Since the Renaissance humanists and Reformation controversialists, one attraction of the crusades had lain in their scope: recruited from all western nations, motivated by apparently transcendent belief systems and fought across three continents. From the perspective of western Europe's engagement with the rest of the globe from the sixteenth century, the crusades provided the only post-classical example to hand of an ideological and military world war. Remarkably, the patterns of analysis of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century have scarcely gone away: empathy; disapproval; relevance; the role of religion; materialist reductionism. Despite the explosion of literary attention, behind the empathetic romanticism of Michaud or the criticism of Mills and Scott, the themes identified by Thomas Fuller, Claude Fleury, David Hume, Edward Gibbon and William Robertson persisted. The idea of the crusades as explicit precursors to modern events, either as features of teleological historical progress or as parallels to modern actions remains potent. The combination of ideology, action, change, European conquest and religious fanaticism acted as a contrast or a comparison with the tone of revolutionary and reactionary politics.