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Tocqueville, Beaumont and the silences in histories of the United States: an interdisciplinary endeavour across literature and sociology
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-09, 08:28 authored by Victoria Margree, Gurminder BhambraGurminder Bhambra
Taking the example of the intermittent presence and absence of narrativesof slavery, colonialism, and race within standard accounts of the US, we examine how Tocqueville’s sociological account of the emergence of democracy in America is transformed when read together with the novel, Marie, written by his friend and travel companion, Beaumont, which addresses issues of American slavery and racism. Our interdisciplinary project proceeds by considering the possible contributions to historical sociology of analysis of literary narratives, and by exploring the translation of social realities into ?ction. These interdisciplinary translations, we argue, highlight the speci?c issue of silences within mainstream narratives about American democracy and enable us to reassess the signi?cance of silences within historiographies of modernity. In particular, the neglect of Beaumont’s contribution has given rise to an appropriation of Tocqueville to a largely celebratory account of American democracy and has elided his concern with the lasting consequences of slavery and racism.
JournalJournal of Historical Sociology
Department affiliated with
- Geography Publications
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