Constantin Iordachi



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COMPARATIVE APPROACHES

TO HISTORICAL RESEARCH
2 Credits, Ph.D.

Fall term, 2006

Jacek Kochanowicz

Constantin Iordachi


The purpose of the course is to familiarize students with the aims, rationale, methods, and cases of comparative studies in the social sciences and in historiography. By no means this course is a comprehensive treatment of all fields of macro-social comparative studies; moreover, it does not cover micro-comparisons at all. The aim of the course, thus, is not to provide students with a complete set of tools, but rather to develop their sensitivity to the subject.

The course is divided into four parts: the first two are methodological and historiographical, while the last two are devoted to two selected set of themes, in which comparative studies have been particularly important: social movements, and nation-sates and nationalism. In order to fully exploit the comparative method's potential, the course employs an interdisciplinary approach that overcomes the rigid division between history and social sciences.

Part I assesses the role of comparison and the inter-relationship of theory and method in social sciences, in general, and in historical research, in particular, through a systematic discussion of the methodological problems inherent in comparative analysis. Readings present arguments and justifications for the comparative approach in social sciences and in historical research and also familiarize students with “intellectual tools” used in such analyses. They address main dilemmas of the historical method, such as choice of unit or level of analysis, specification, quantification, and generalization.

Part II tackles contemporary concerns about the status of comparative studies. The heydays of the comparative method were in the immediate post Second World War period, and in the 1970s. More recently, the comparative method has come under scrutiny because its search for causal regularities has failed to provide the kind of promised overarching synthesis of knowledge. Globalization seems to have eroded, or at least question, the certainty of the comparative method, calling for greater international competency in world history. The course critically reviews recent debates about comparative history that have been carried out in the social sciences. It also introduces students to recent methods of cross-cultural research, such as transfer studies, connected, shared or entangled history(ies), inviting students to critically reconsider the interactions between different societies or cultures, in a global context.

In an attempt to avoid an excessive concentration on theory and methodology at the expense of substantive empirical work, part III of the course tackles topics in comparative history. Readings are selected in such a way as to provide students with cases of actual comparative treatment of certain processes. Moreover, in order to accommodate students’ more immediate research interest, part IV (the last two sessions) will focus on additional research topics they propose, in direct connection with their doctoral work.

The format of the course is informed class discussion of issues and cases. Students are required to write three essays, related to part I, II and III of the course. Each essay should be no more than ten pages (2,500 words), and they are due on the day of the last class dealing with the given topic. Late assignments will result in the reduction of the grade. In the essays, students are expected to discuss critically the readings, using concepts learned in the methodological part of the course. Students are encouraged to go beyond the assigned readings and to explore the general bibliography at the end of the course, or their own research. Each paper will count for the 25% of the grade and the class participation for the remaining 25%.



  1. COMPARATIVE METHODOLOGY



  1. General

Ragin, Charles C. The Comparative Method, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989; chapters: “The Distinctiveness of Comparative Social Science,” pp. 1-18; “Case -Oriented Comparative Methods,” pp. 34-52; “The Variable-Oriented Approach,” pp. 53-68.

Przeworski, Adam and Henry Teune. The Logic of Comparative Social Inquiry, Malabar, Fla. : R.E. Krieger, 1982, pp. 3-13.

Sartori, Giovanni. “Comparing, Micromparing and the Comparative Method,” in: Comparing Nations: Concepts, Strategies, Substance, ed. by Mattei Dogani and Ali Kazancigil. Oxford, UK and Cambridge, USA: Blackwell, 1994, pp. 14-34.

Attention: As it is not realistic to expect everybody read all the above texts before our first meeting, students are asked to familiarize themselves with these readings as quickly as possible, as they provide concepts and issues important throughout the whole course. We shall be referring to them all the time.


  1. History, Sociology and Anthropology

Bloch, Marc. “A Contribution towards a Comparative History of European Societies,” in Land and Work in Medieval Europe, pp.44-81.

Sewell, William. “Marc Bloch and the logic of comparative history,” History and Theory, 1967 Vol. 6, pp. 208-218.

Levi-Strauss, Claude. Race and History, in: Structural Anthropology, II, pp. 323-362.

Tilly, Charles. Big Structures, Large Processes, Huge Comparisons. New York: Russel Sage, 1984. Chapter 4: “Comparing.” pp. 60-86.



  1. Grand Masters

Warner, R. Stephen. “The Methodology of Marx’s Comparative Analysis of the Modes of Production,” in: Comparative Methods in Sociology: Essays on Trends and Application, ed. by Ivan Vallier, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971, pp. 49-74.

Roth, Guenther. “Max Weber’s Comparative Approach and Historical Typology, in: Comparative Methods in Sociology: Essays on Trends and Application, ed. by Ivan Vallier, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971, pp. 75-93.



II. Beyond Comparison? New Approaches

4. The Comparative Method: New Challenges

Haupt, Heinz-Gerhard. “Comparative History” in International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 4, eds. Smelser, N. J. and P. B. Baltes (Amsterdam: Pergamon, 2001), pp. 2397-2403.

Lorenz, Chris. “Comparative Historiography: Problems and Perspectives,” History and Theory, Vol. 38, No. 1. (Feb., 1999), pp. 25-39.

Kocka, Jürgen. “Comparison and Beyond,” History and Theory, 42 (2003), pp. 39-44.

Haupt, Heinz-Gerhard and Jürgen Kocka, “Comparative History: Methods, Aims, Problems” in Deborah Cohen, Maura O’Connor, eds., Comparison and History. Europe in Cross-National Perspective (New York, 2004), pp. 23-39.

5. Entangled History/Histoire Croisée

Michael Werner, Bénédicte Zimmermann. “Beyond Comparison: Histoire croisée and the Challenge of reflexivity,” History and Theory, 45 (Feb. 2006) 1, pp. 30-50.

Philipp Ther. “Beyond the Nation: The Relational Basis of a Comparative History of Germany and Europe.” Central European History 36 (2003), pp. 45-73.

Randeria, S. “Entangled Histories or Uneven Modernities: Civil Society, Caste Solidarities and Legal Pluralism in Post-Colonial India” in Unravelling Ties. From Social Cohesion to New Practices of Connectedness, ed. Yehuda Elkana (Frankfurt/Main: Campus, 2002), 284-311.



5. History of Transfers

Deborah Cohen, Maura O’Connor, “Comparative History, Cross-National History, Transnational History-Definitions” in Deborah Cohen, Maura O’Connor, eds., Comparison and History. Europe in Cross-National Perspective (New York, 2004), pp. VII-XXIV.

te Velde, Henk. “Political Transfers: An Introduction” in Special Issue: Political Transfer,” European Review of History, 12 (July 2005) 2, 205-222.

Janny de Jong, “’The Principles of Steam:’ Political Transfer and transformation in Japan, 1868-1889,” European Review of History, 12 (July 2005) 2, 269-290.



7. Trans-National History

Michael Miller, “Comparative and Cross-National History: Approaches, Differences, Problems,” in Deborah Cohen, Maura O’Connor, eds., Comparison and History. Europe in Cross-National Perspective (New York, 2004), pp. 115-132.

Gale Stokes, “The Fates of Human Societies: A review of Recent macrohistorics,” American Historical Review, 106 (2001), pp. 508-525.

Tyrrell, Ian. “American Exceptionalism in an Age of International History,” The American Historical Review, Vol. 96, No. 4. (Oct., 1991), pp. 1031-1055.

Michael McGerr, “The Price of the ‘New Transnational History,’” The American Historical Review, 96 (October 1991) 4, pp. 1062-1063.

III SOCIAL MOVEMENTS, NATION-STATES, NATIONALISM



8. Workers’ and Peasants’ Movements

Aristide Zolberg, “How Many Exceptionalisms?” in Working Class Formation: Nineteenth Century Patterns in Western Europe and the United States (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), pp. 397-455.


Tim McDaniel, “Theoretical Perspectives on the Russian Labor Movement,” in Autocracy, Capitalism and Revolution in Russia (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), pp. 36-51.
Hobsbawm E.J., Primitive Rebels: Studies in Archaic Forms of Social Movement in the 19th and 20th Centuries. New York: W.W. Norton: 1959; chapter I: “Introduction,” pp. 1-12, chapter II: “The Social Bandit,” pp. 13-29; chapter VII: “The City Mob,” pp. 108-125.

Wolf E. "On Peasant Rebellions", International Social Science Journal, vol. 21, 1969, reprinted in Peasants and Peasant Societies, ed. by Teodor Shanin, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1971, pp. 264-274.



  1. Revolutions

Zagorin, Perez. Rebels and Rulers, 1500-1660. Vol. I: Society, States and Early Modern Revolution: Agrarian and Urban Rebellions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982; chapter I: “The concept of revolution and the comparative history of revolution in early modern Europe,” pp.3-27; chapter 2: “Conspectus, typology, causality,” pp. 28-57.

Skocpol, Theda. States and Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia, and China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979, chapter 2; “Old-Regime States in Crisis,” pp. 47-111; chapter 3: Agrarian Structures and Peasant Insurrections,” pp. 112-157.



  1. Nation-states and Nationalism

Poggi, Gianfranco. The Development of the Modern State: A Sociological Introduction. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1978. Chapter IV: “The Absolutist System of Rule,” pp. 60-85.

Mann, Michael. The Sources of Social Power. Vol. II: The Rise of Classes and Nation-States, 1960-1914. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. Chapter 3: “A theory of modern state,” pp. 44-91; chapter 7: “Conclusions to Chapters 4-6: The emergence of classes and nations,” pp. 214-253.

Tilly, Charles. Coercion, Capital, and the European States, AD 990-1992. Cambridge MA & Oxford UK: Blackwell, 1990. Chapter 3: “How War Made States, and Vice Versa,” pp. 67-95.

  1. RESEARCH TOPICS AT STUDENTS’ CHOICE




Class 11. TBA
Class 12. TBA

General Bibliography:

Books:

Berger, St., M. Donovan, K. Passmore, ed., Writing National Histories. Western Europe since 1800 (London: Routledge, 1999).

Cohen, Deborah, Maura O'Connor. Comparison and History: Europe in Cross-national Perspective. New York: Routledge, 2004.

Dogani, Mattei and Ali Kazancigil, eds. Comparing Nations: Concepts, Strategies, Substance (Oxford, UK and Cambridge, USA: Blackwell, 1994).

Dominic Sachsenmaier with Shmuel Eisenstadt, eds. Reflections on multiple modernities: European, Chinese, and other interpretations (Leiden: Brill, 2002).

Eisenstadt, Shmuel N. Comparative civilizations and multiple modernities (Leiden: Brill, 2003).

Eisenstadt, Shmuel N. Multiple modernities (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 2002).

Elkana, Yehuda. Unravelling Ties. From Social Cohesion to New Practices of Connectedness (Frankfurt/Main: Campus, 2002), 284-311;

Espagne, Michel and Werner, Michael, eds. Transferts: les relations interculturelles dans l'espace franco allemand (XVIIe ei XIXe sièle) (Paris: Editions Recherche sur les civilisations, 1988).

Fulbrook, Mary, ed. National histories and European history (London: UCL Press 1993).

Hobsbawm E.J., Primitive Rebels: Studies in Archaic Forms of Social Movement in the 19th and 20th Centuries (New York: W.W. Norton: 1959).

Kaelble, H. and J. Schriewer, eds. Vergleich und Transfer. Komparatistik in den Sozial-, Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften (Frankfurt/Main: Campus Verlag, 2003).

Kaelble, Hartmut. Der historische Vergleich: eine Einführung zum 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/Main: Campus Verlag, 1999.

Lepenies, Wolf, ed. Entangled Histories and Negotiated Universals (Frankfurt/Main: Campus Verlag, 2003).

Poggi, Gianfranco. The Development of the Modern State: A Sociological Introduction (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1978).

Przeworski, Adam and Henry Teune. The Logic of Comparative Social Inquiry (Malabar, Fla.: R.E. Krieger, 1982).

Ragin, Charles C. The Comparative Method (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989).

Skocpol, Theda. States and Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia, and China (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979).

Steen Mangen, Linda Hantrais, eds. Comparative social research, the East-West dimension (Birmingham: Aston Modern Languages Club, Aston University, 1987).

Strayer, Robert W. ed. The Making of the Modern World: Connected Histories, Divergent Paths (1500 to the Present) (New York: St. Martins Press, 1989).

Tilly, Charles. Big Structures, Large Processes, Huge Comparisons. New York: Russel Sage, 1984. Chapter 4: “Comparing.” pp. 60-86.

Tilly, Charles. Coercion, Capital, and the European States, AD 990-1992 (Cambridge MA & Oxford UK: Blackwell, 1990).

Vallier, Ivan. Comparative Methods in Sociology: Essays on Trends and Application (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971), pp. 75-93.

Werner, Michael, Bénédicte Zimmermann (eds.), De la comparaison à l’histoire croisée (Paris: Seuil, 2004), pp. 15-52.

Zagorin, Perez. Rebels and Rulers, 1500-1660. Vol. 1: Society, States and Early Modern Revolution: Agrarian and Urban Rebellions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982).

Zimmermann, Bénédicte, Claude Didry, Michael Werner. Histoire croisée de la France et de l’Allemagne (Paris: Éd. de la MSH, 1999).

Zolberg, Aristide. Working Class Formation: Nineteenth Century Patterns in Western Europe and the United States (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991).

Articles:

Berger, Stefan. “A return to the National Paradigm? National History Writing in Germany, Italy, France, and Britain from 1945 to the Present,” Journal of Modern History, 77 (2005), pp. 629-678.

Bosworth, R. J. B. “Nations Examine Their Past: A Comparative Analysis of the Historiography of the ‘Long’ Second World War,” The History Teacher, Vol. 29, No. 4. (Aug., 1996), pp. 499-523.

Bosworth, R. J. B. “Nations Examine Their Past: A Comparative Analysis of the Historiography of the ‘Long’ Second World War,” The History Teacher, Vol. 29, No. 4. (Aug., 1996), pp. 499-523.

Braembussche, A. A. van den. “Historical Explanation and Comparative Method: Towards a Theory of the History of Society,” History and Theory, Vol. 28, No. 1. (Feb., 1989), pp. 1-24.

Collomp, Catherine. “Immigrants, Labor Markets, and the State, a Comparative Approach: France and the United States, 1880-1930,” The Journal of American History, Vol. 86, No. 1. (Jun., 1999), pp. 41-66.

Conrad, Sebastian. “What Time is Japan? Problems of Comparative (Intercultural) Historiography,” History and Theory, Vol. 38, No. 1. (Feb., 1999), pp. 67-83.

Greif, Avner. “The New Institutional Economics. Historical and Comparative Institutional Analysis,” The American Economic Review, Vol. 88, No. 2, Papers and Proceedings of the Hundred and Tenth Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association. (May 1998), pp. 80-84.

Grew, Raymond. “The Case for Comparing Histories,” The American Historical Review, Vol. 85, No. 4. (Oct., 1980), pp. 763-778.

Grew, Raymond. “The Comparative Weakness of American History,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Vol. 16, No. 1. (Summer, 1985), pp. 87-101.

Haupt, Heinz-Gerhard. “Comparative History” in International Encyclopaedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, eds. Smelser, N. J. and P. B. Baltes (Amsterdam: Pergamon, 2001), Vol. 4, pp. 2397-2403.

James A. Caporaso, “Across the Great Divide: Integrating Comparative and International Politics,” International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 41, No. 4. (Dec., 1997), pp. 563-591.

Kocka, Jürgen. “Comparison and Beyond,” History and Theory, 42 (2003), pp. 39-44.

Kumar, Krishan. “Nation and Empire: English and British National Identity in Comparative Perspective” Theory and Society, Vol. 29, No. 5. (Oct., 2000), pp. 575-608.

Levi-Strauss, Claude. “Race and History,” Structural Anthropology, II, pp. 323-362.

Lorenz, Chris. “Comparative Historiography: Problems and Perspectives,” History and Theory, Vol. 38, No. 1. (Feb., 1999), pp. 25-39.

Maier, Charles S. “Consigning the Twentieth Century to History: Alternative Narratives for the Modern Era,” American Historical Review 105 (2000), pp. 807-831.

McMichael, Philip. “Rethinking comparative analysis in a post-developmentalist context” International Social Science Journal, Vol. 44 Issue 3, (Aug., 1992), 351-366.

Middell, Matthias. “Kulturtransfer und Historische Komparatistik – Thesen zu ihrem Verhältnis.” Comparativ 10 (2000), pp. 7-41.

Motyl, Alexander J. “Why Empires Reemerge: Imperial Collapse and Imperial Revival in Comparative Perspective,” Comparative Politics, Vol. 31, No. 2. (Jan., 1999), pp. 127-145.

Patell, Cyrus R. K. “Comparative American Studies: Hybridity and beyond, ” American Literary History, Vol. 11, No. 1. (Spring, 1999), pp. 166-186.

Paulmann, Johannes. “Internationaler Vergleich und interkultureller Transfer. Zwei Forschungsansätze zur europäischen Geschichte des 18. bis 20. Jahrhunderts,” Historische Zeitschrift 267 (1998), pp. 649-685.

Rothschild, Emma. “Globalization and the Return of History,” Foreign Policy (1999), pp. 106-116.

Rusen, Jorn. “Some Theoretical Approaches to Intercultural Comparative Historiography,” History and Theory, Vol. 35, No. 4, Theme Issue 35: Chinese Historiography in Comparative Perspective. (Dec., 1996), pp. 5-22.

Rusen, Jorn. “Some Theoretical Approaches to Intercultural Comparative Historiography,” History and Theory, Vol. 35, No. 4, Theme Issue 35: Chinese Historiography in Comparative Perspective. (Dec., 1996), pp. 5-22.

Sebastian Conrad. “What Time is Japan? Problems of Comparative (Intercultural) Historiography,” History and Theory, Vol. 38, No. 1. (Feb., 1999), pp. 67-83.

Sewell, William. “Marc Bloch and the logic of comparative history,” History and Theory, 1967 Vol. 6, pp. 208-218.

T. Green, Andrew T. “Comparative Development of Post-Communist Civil Societies,” Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 54, No. 3. (May, 2002), pp. 455-471.

te Velde, Henk. “Political Transfers: An Introduction” in Special Issue: Political Transfer, European Review of History, 12 (July 2005) 2, pp. 205-222.

Ther, Philipp “Beyond the Nation: The Relational Basis of a Comparative History of Germany and Europe.” Central European History 36 (2003), pp. 45-73.

Tilly, Charles. "A Grand Tour of Exotic Landes," American Historical Review 104 (October 1999), pp. 1253-1257.

Tyrrell, Ian. “American Exceptionalism in an Age of International History,” The American Historical Review, Vol. 96, No. 4. (Oct., 1991), pp. 1031-1055.

Tyrrell, Ian. “New Comparisons, International Worlds: Transnational and Comparative Perspectives,” Australian Feminist Studies 6 (Nov. 2001), 36, pp. 355-361.

Wanke, Michaela, Norbert Schwarz, Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, “Asking Comparative Questions: The Impact of the Direction of Comparison,” The Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 59, No. 3. (Autumn, 1995), pp. 347-372.

Werner, Michael Bénédicte Zimmermann. “Beyond Comparison: Histoire croisée and the Challenge of reflexivity,” History and Theory, 45 (Feb. 2006) 1, pp. 30-50.

Werner, Michael, Bénédicte Zimmermann “Penser l’histoire croisée: entre empirie et réflecivité,” Annales, 58 (2003) 1, pp. 7-36.



Wolf Eric. "On Peasant Rebellions", International Social Science Journal, vol. 21, 1969, reprinted in Peasants and Peasant Societies, ed. by Teodor Shanin (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1971), pp. 264-274.


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