November 15th, 2009 | Uncategorized

Paul Kennedy on decade-naming

Can’t think of a name to quantify the ’00s? Don’t worry, says J. Richardson Dilworth Professor of History Paul Kennedy in a Week in Review article in the New York Times Sunday. Read his opinions below.

From “Naming the ’00s,” by David Segal:

Thus, a note of caution from Paul Kennedy, a historian at Yale and author of “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers.” The urge to name moments and eras, he said in an interview, is an affliction common to historians, but one that is best attempted with a certain sobriety.

He cited an extended metaphor of E. H. Carr, a historian who compared history to the experience of riding in a camel train through a North African desert. “As you approach the mountains, they have a particular shape and formation,” Mr. Kennedy said. “By the time your train has drawn equal to the mountains, their shape has changed. And as the train winds further northwards, if you cast a look back, the shape will change again.”

Click here to read the full article.