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<email@example.com> I think Ken Harrow is right that there often is a serious gap between historians and literary critics that is reflected in debates over postmodernism. An argument that historians categorically don't want to deal with difficult theory would be unpersuasive to me, having come up in the "modes of production" debates era, which required Althusser and Poulantzas, Godelier and Meillasoux etc. etc. out the eyeballs, having encountered Foucault extensively in undergrad Annales School history classes, and Gramsci since, and so on. Not Derrida, but not "easy." There is a sub-group of historians who tend to be skeptical of the utility of theory, but I'd wager many of them would think the discipline quite riddled with theory. There is also a different sort of question about whether "theory" is sometimes unnecessarily difficult, obscure because of poverty of expression or making more of an insight than is warranted by inflated prose or unpersuasive reasoning. Such accusations made against abstract thought (theory) as a whole or against labels is anti-intellectual in my view. But it may be quite true and fair and necessary criticism in particular cases. As for specifically literary theory, I think there are numbers of practicing Africanist historians who at very least see themselves as influenced by questions that come from those sources, perhaps sometimes mediated by cultural studies, anthropology or performance studies. I find Ken Harrow's genealogy of Anglophone cultural studies interesting. I'm sure we can't understand Stuart Hall without the theorists mentioned. But where are E.P. Thompson, Perry Anderson, Raymond Williams? At least part of the "gap" comes from literary critical theory's ambivalence towards history. In its more formalist moments (New Criticism, some versions of deconstruction) critical theory can deny the interest of history. Part of the hostility/anxiety of historians to postmodernism comes from arguments that either overtly deny the possibility of history, misconstrue historians' understandings of the nature of the truth-claims we make when we make truth-claims, or fail to make distinctions among different forms of narrativity and thus make too much out of the fact that the process of doing history involves telling stories or making interpretations about the meaning of traces of the past. On the other hand, historians may take such arguments as much more characteristic and as being much more central to the concerns of literary critics than they really are. A different sort of problem arises when literary critics decide for a while that they *are* interested in history. The re-emergence of "historicism" in literary studies can be a real bane to historians because literary historicism really isn't the same as history, but often literary critics don't recognize that (I'm sure social theorists feel the same way when historians try to combine snippets of incommensurate theory at times). I like to read cultural studies because sometimes there are really interesting ideas, but a lot of times there are also leaps of connection that are untenable and obvious misinterpretations from a historical point of view. Often these are anachronisms that ought to be called transhistoricism rather than historicism. "Race" and "colonialism" can be particularly subject to this. Many of the gaps arise from two key issues, I think: different judgments about what trade-offs we are willing to make about specificity of time and place vs. possible connections through formal and analogical criteria; and, different beliefs about the status of evidence and the significances we should draw from awareness of our limits in interpreting the meaning of traces of the past.