The Internationale of HistoriansBy Mark Mazower
This article explores the close connections between the English historian Eric Hobsbawm and the historical profession in France, from his attendance at the 1950 international congress of historical sciences to his relationship with Fernand Braudel and others. It demonstrates the importance of the informal network of contacts and influences that emerged around the two men, and between the new institutions – notably the VIe section of the ‘Ecole pratique des hautes études’ and the journal Past and Present – that they helped found and were associated with. This network acted as a catalyst upon the historical profession on both sides of the Atlantic and transformed the way the historical sciences were organised. Initially brought together by a shared interest in economic history and the history of capitalism, an interest which never vanished, its members were at the heart of the rise of social history as a dominant concern of the early modern and modern fields from the 1970s onwards. These intellectual shifts were connected with a new emphasis on the value of history itself as a social science.