This journal publishes literature reviews exclusively. Literature reviews are a particularly useful kind of journal article when doing research. They address the issues involved in a particular question and the debates among scholars. They map out the intellectual terrain succinctly and give you the major landmarks in terms of key authors and significant titles for greater understanding.
Recent examples include:
"Making Sense of the Ruins: The Historiography of Deindustrialisation and its Continued Relevance in Neoliberal Times"
Abstract: The political upheavals of recent years, including Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, have increased scholarly and public interest in the impact of deindustrialisation on working‐class communities. Building upon earlier literature reviews, this historiographical study examines the continued flowering of this interdisciplinary, transnational field of research. After briefly recounting the emergence of the field in response to the structural transformations of the 1970s and 80s, and its subsequent ‘cultural turn’, this review focuses on identifying the most promising strands of contemporary English‐language research. It notes the particularly innovative attempts to identify the ‘moral economy’ of deindustrialising societies, the growing study of the long‐term cultural legacies or ‘half‐life’ of deindustrialisation, and the renewed focus on the politics of memory and heritage preservation. Finally, it considers how scholars can constructively respond to the increasing public interest in deindustrialisation, challenge racialised and exclusionary definitions of the working‐class, and unpick the historical relationship between deindustrialisation and the social and political transformations of recent times.
Richard M. Mizelle Jr.
"Race and Environmental History"
Abstract: Africans and African Americans have always expressed an environmental consciousness rooted in their specific historical experience in North America. Their relationship to the nonhuman world is reflected through desires for leisure in natural spaces, demand of land ownership, and unique experiences of labor, disasters, and connecting to the land in both urban and southern spaces. Beginning in the 1970s, historians began thinking more critically about the relationship between humans and the nonhuman world in the creation of a new field known as environmental history. The connection of race and environmental history is more recent, yet represents a now burgeoning field of research for scholars throughout the world. This article in particular highlights the interplay of African American and environmental history during mostly the 20th century.
"Lynching and Power in the United States: Southern, Western, and National Vigilante Violence"
Abstract: Lynching has shaped U.S. history and identity from the colonial era to the present. Recent scholarship has expanded the periodization and geographical definition of lynching to encompass not only the South from 1880 to 1930, but also acts of vigilante violence in the West that span a much longer history. New scholarship treats the terrorizing and regulatory functions of lynching, but also the work that such violence does in creating and upholding different kinds of power. Such attention to the constitutive power of violence signals a momentous turn in the historiography, one that promises to connect histories of vigilantism with those of empire, torture, war, rape, and other kinds of violence.
David Ponton III
"A Protracted War for Order: Police Violence in the Twentieth Century United States"
Abstract: Although a formal historiography of police violence has yet to develop, historians have had much to say about police brutality. Building on the insights of race theorists from critical legal, critical race, and sociological studies on racial formation and the law, they have argued that police violence has been constitutive to racial formation in the United States, that is has been a primary means through which crime is socially constructed, that is has always been employed in the interest of preserving “order,” that it has inspired sustained movements of resistance, and that its militarization and sustained patterns of brutality are a collective telltale sign of the failures of Great Society liberalism and the fragility of neoliberalism and neoconservatism. This article synthesizes the scattered historical literature to plainly articulate these prevailing arguments about the form, function, and consequences of police violence, much of which has been produced by scholars of Black American and labor histories, but which is also appearing more frequently in other ethnic histories as well as queer and gender histories. Historians can continue to take an interdisciplinary approach to shaping research questions and producing a body of work that attends specifically to the history of police violence. We will need to borrow sources from other disciplines and re‐imagine data as evidence; create new archives, even as we rediscover old ones as we face the near‐insurmountable challenge of extracting police misconduct information from police department archives; and consider that the challenge for developing a police brutality historiography is not in determining the magnitude of violence, but rather in teasing out the political and legal apparatuses that make such violence immune to reform.
James R. Allison III
"Beyond it All: Surveying the Intersections of Modern American Indian, Environmental, and Western Histories"
Abstract: At the close of the twentieth century, the related fields of American Indian, environmental, and western history produced the discipline's most dynamic historiographies. For all their collective insights, however, these works rarely crossed into the twentieth century to examine modern Indians in the American West. This is no longer the case. This essay, thus, first explores the social and political conditions that produced the “New Indian History” and the “New Western History” by the 1990s, and then examines recent work that incorporates “post‐colonial” and “settler colonialism” approaches to reveal a more nuanced picture of the recent Indian past and the meanings indigenous people attach to it. Finally, the analysis turns to calls for a new historiography—labeled variously as the “indigenous paradigm” or the “writing back” approach—and details the benefits and challenges it poses to the study of history. Throughout, the essay demonstrates the fundamental connection between the ever‐changing present and our evolving understandings of the past.