Historians of the world unite! Eric Hobsbawm and the Communist Party Historians Group, 1946-1956

Emile Chabal


How do historians become historians? Some might say that all it takes is dedication to the profession and a talent for reading archival sources. But the reality of the profession is rather more complex. Eric Hobsbawm - one of the most famous historians of the twentieth-century - is a perfect example of this. His journey from a bright doctoral student to a global household name was not inevitable; instead, it involved a complex web of friendships and contacts that enabled him to speak knowledgeably to (and about) a huge range of audiences. In this article, I explore one of the most important aspects of his historical apprenticeship: his membership of the Communist Party Historians Group. This became one of the pre-eminent forums for the development of Hobsbawm’s ideas in the 1940s and 50s - and, through the richness of its discussions, left a lasting impression on Marxist historiography.




Eric Hobsbawm; Marxist history; Communism

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5007/1984-9222.2018v10n19p71

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