Damien Broderick (
Sun, 13 Apr 1997 11:01:23 +0000

At 10:34 AM 4/12/97 -0700, Robin wrote:

>Cliometrics is not trendy!? What evidence is there for this. Can
>either of you name any person with such a specialty who was hired at a
>major university history dept lately?

I was in dictionary mode - nothing so vulgar as *data* or *facts*.

I would guess that the impact of poststructuralism does still shape
humanities' depts. One of the routine put-downs I repeatedly heard around
the literature end of the academy, blood-curdling and chilling, was:`mere
empiricism'. Yeah, right, I'd say, I'm troubling your doctrine with facts
(yetch)... so sorry. But `facts' are just culturally-bound
interpretations, I'd be told. In such a climate, I don't imagine
cliometrics would do very well. On the other hand, poststruck doctrine
seems to be increasingly on the nose, so the tide might be about to turn.
(And the new models emerging from complexity theory are likely to attract
interest back to *measurement*, aren't they? Or will that be just a new
scholasticism as well?)

Damien Broderick