Russell R. Menard on Eric Williams

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx at
Sun Oct 22 11:12:08 MDT 2000

Michael Hoover wrote:

>Genovese has always held antebellum US South to be feudal-like >periphery

> >and thought southern conservatism to have markers common to >European
> >tradition.  His Marxist writings portray region/period in manner that
> >manifests itself in recent works as respect for "organic" tradition and >its
> >critical attitude toward role of marketplace.

Genovese's work on slavery is a premature Gramscian analysis wrapped in
Weberian language. His treatment of  black slaves as "paternalistic" beings
(Southern slavery as a *feudal* phenomenon entrenched in ethical and religious
world views constraining production at the expense of efficiency- he says
"slavery was economically inefficient"p.64) has nothing to do with Gramsci or
Marx in common. It is just a bad Marxism or a culturalist study at most. If he
had really wanted to do good Marxism, he should have struggled to prove how in
fact slavery plundered  the value and cultural system of black people rather
than positing culture as an obstacle to efficieny. His analysis is very muck
like this by analogy: Indians resisted assimilation because of their culture.
If they did not resist or adjusted themselves, they would have been much easily
modernized (sort of bullshit)  He is Weber at his apogee here!  So he can still
be considered a *new left* for breaking away with historical materialism.

> Re. Engerman, can any listers confirm New Left background?



Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
PhD Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222

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