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A Contest of IdeasCapital, Politics, and Labor$
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Nelson Lichtenstein

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037856

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037856.001.0001

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Historians as Public Intellectuals

Historians as Public Intellectuals

(p.38) Chapter 3 Historians as Public Intellectuals
A Contest of Ideas

Nelson Lichtenstein

University of Illinois Press

This chapter presents the author's reflections on the meaning of the public intellectual. At Berkeley, the author and his comrades saw themselves as standing in a revolutionary tradition that reached back almost to the first years of the twentieth century. The task was to put that ideology to work. At the time they crammed as much history and analysis onto a series of mimeographed leaflets which they distributed bright and early at Sather Gate. New and more effective forms of distribution would soon become available, but the impulse to reach a larger, animated public by deploying ideas generated in either the seminar room or the political caucus retains its potency. Indeed, such an impulse is a hallmark of good citizenship, which is the essence of what being a political activist or even a public intellectual is all about.

Keywords:   public intellectuals, labor historians, good citizenship, political activist, activism

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