Hall's Review of Isaac


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Posted by Briane Turley on August 09, 1999 at 18:36:35:

Okay, since everyone is apparently too bashful to take the first stab at this discussion forum, I'll give it a shot!

I found Timothy Hall's review ( http://jsr.as.wvu.edu/hall.htm ) of Rhys Isaac's book to be refreshingly provocative. I was especially glad to read Hall's comments about Isaac's prefatory remarks in the paperback version of his _Transformation of Virginia_.

Certainly, no one could accuse Isaac of lacking self confidence. Yet Hall raises some excellent points about his method! Here's what Hall observes in his opening paragraph:

Isaac celebrates this flourishing diversity of "ethnographic everybody's history" in the new preface to this reissued paperback edition of his masterpiece, while lamenting that the new cultural history's "multiplicity of would-be paradigms" has left the field "in a state of confusing fragmentation." Isaac expresses confidence that the "force and clarity" of his path-breaking venture into ethnographic history assures the book "a continuing role in the furtherance of gender- and race-inclusive history" (xxvi). Yet insofar as that confidence rests on the hope of bringing order out of current paradigmatic chaos, it may well have been betrayed by Isaac's decision to leave the limitations of his method and analysis unaddressed by revision.

Anyone else who has read Isaac care to comment on the current "chaos"?




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