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History. But shoes may fit several pairs of feet. On nationalism. as it happens. rather in the way sovereign states put in polite appearances at the United Nations. 72." explaining it as "a convenient and relatively harmless satisfaction of the inclination to aggression.3 Might there be a connection? Could we have allowed a "narcissism of minor differences. see E.J. from time to time.Myth. and ed. 1. Sigmund Freud. No.and in thefall of 1997 will becomeRobertLovettProfessorof Historyat YaleUniversity. We gesture vaguely in the direction of interdisciplinary cooperation. and Benedict Anderson. 75 . by means of which cohesion between the members of the community is made easier. Vol. falls far short of what we routinely promise. p.rev. Reflections 3. who are engaged in constant feuds and in ridiculing each other. and adjacent disciplines. Nations and Nationalism Since 1780: Programme.2 Another. dodging shrapnel even as we sink ever more deeply into mutual incomprehension. dilettantes. trans. 2. scholarly organizations." He called this "the narcissism of minor differences. 1991)."' Freud had nationalism in mind. and Common Ground JohnLewisGaddis Sigmund Freud once pointed out that "it is precisely communities with adjoining territories. ed. 75-85 ? 1997 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. pp. is disciplinary professionalization: a century ago historians and political scientists had only begun to think of themselves as distinct communities. (New York:Verso. Hobsbawm. of course. Are we academic nationalists? We have been trained since graduate school to defend our turf against assaults from deans. Dorothy Ross. 1997). James Strachey. Theory. however. 22.: Cambridge University Press. pp. and related to each other in other ways as well. Civilization and Its Discontents. to Balkanize our minds? JohnLewisGaddishas beenDistinguishedProfessorof Historyin the Contemporary HistoryInstituteat OhioUniversity. And we have been known. not the long and uneasy relationship between theorists and historians of world politics. 1990). reality. (New York: Norton. InternationalSecurity. and Reality (Cambridge.K. 1 (Summer 1997). in The Origins of American Social Science (New York: Cambridge University Press. His latest bookis We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History (New York:Oxford University Press. discusses how historians and political scientists came to regard themselves as distinct communities. We organize our journals." over the past several decades.1991). to construct the intellectual equivalent of fortified trenches from which we fire artillery back and forth. The world is full of what seem to be ancient patterns of behavior that are in fact relatively recent: real-world nationalism is one of them. U. 257-300. 1961). Imagined Communities: on the Originand Spreadof Nationalism. and university departments within precisely demarcated boundaries.

In astronomy. now have limited real-time evidence for Darwin's theory of natural selection. They rely upon controlled reproducible experimentation. however. and they probably always will. The only way we can re-run this kind of history is to imagine it. and consequences. See Jonathan Weiner. though. they are able to re-run sequences of events. correlations. phenomena rarely fit within computers or laboratories. There is no way to verify this hypothesis. . repeats actual processes. See Carol Kaesuk Yoon." They differ dramatically. 4.5 Both of these methods-laboratory and thought experiments-are indisputably "scientific. Physics and chemistry are only slightly less reliable.4 These disciplines depend instead upon thought experiments: practitioners re-run in their minds what their petri dishes. Time and space are compressed and manipulated. to set aside disciplinary boundaries for a moment and consider a simple question: can we. apart from examining the fossil record to see whether antelope did indeed once live alongside speedier carnivores. does today's North American pronghorned antelope run twice as fast as any of its predators? Perhaps because "ghost" predators now extinct-cheetahs and hyenas-forced them to do so. But not all sciences work this way.International Security 22:1 | 76 versus ThoughtExperiments Laboratory It might help. they do get similar results when they perform experiments under similar conditions. varying conditions in such a way as to establish causes. in thinking about this possibility. and paleontology. "Pronghorn's Speed May Be Legacy of Past Predators. geology. 1996. Reproducibility exists only as a consensus that such correspondences seem plausible. They then look for evidence suggesting which of these mental exercises comes closest to explaining their real-time observations. December 24. 5. centrifuges. Mathematicians recalculate pi to millions of decimal places with absolute confidence that its basic value will remain what it has been for thousands of years. Verification. though. in their reliance on replication versus imagination. Why. replicate phenomena? Certain fields do this all the time. 1994). history itself is in effect re-run. for although investigators cannot always be sure what is happening at subatomic levels. within these disciplines. We do. and electron microscopes cannot manage. in investigating phenomena. The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time (New York: Knopf." New YorkTimes. the time required to see results can exceed the life spans of those who seek them. for example.

and Imagination We do not normally think of research in the "hard" sciences as an imaginative act. Vol. And what of the obvious next step.and CommonGround| 77 Science. in Wonderful Life:The BurgessShaleand the Natureof History(New York: Norton. p. 85 (November 1979). 44 (January 9. 7. 9. films? Do these also not simulate reality by revealing aspects of human behavior that would be difficult to document in any other way? Surely Shakespeare's contribution to our understanding of human nature was at least as great as Freud's-even if he did take liberties with the historical record at least as great as those of Oliver Stone. matching mental reconstructions of experiences they can never have with whatever archival "fossils" these may have left behind. plays." Past and Present. in "The Uses of History in Sociology: Reflections on Some Recent Tendencies. 1991).10 6. "is first and foremost their content. Vol. The content of historical stories is real events. provides one of the best explanations of how it is done. Simon Schama.: Johns Hopkins University Press. poems. Vol. Edmund S. The Unredeemed Captive:A FamilyStoryfromEarlyAmerica(New York:Random House. which is the construction of explicitly fictional accounts-novels. Goldthorpe.7 Everything we do. makes this point admirably. 3. 1997). 1989). though. Dead Certainties: Unwarranted Speculations (New York: Knopf. 8. events invented by the narrator. Byatt. without an imagination so vivid that it allowed experiments with phenomena too large to fit not just his laboratory but his galaxy? Or Darwin without the ability to conceive a timescale extending hundreds of millions of years? Or Alfred Wegener without visualizing a globe on which whole continents could come together and drift apart? What is the reconstruction of dinosaurs and other ancient creatures from fossils. and John Demos. 4-6." See Hayden White." Hayden White has argued. a story. events that really happened. 10. in this sense. 213-214. 1990). a simulated reality-in short. . pp. 1994).History. 42 (June 1991).Theory. Morgan discusses these issues in reviewing Arthur Miller's screenplay for the film version of The Crucible in the New YorkReview of Books.History. Stephen Jay Gould. pp. Lawrence Stone.9 many others have no doubt done so without being quite so honest about it.S. if not a fitting of imagined flesh to surviving bones and shells. Possession: A Romance (New York: Random House. 27. John H. is a thought experiment. Md. rather than imaginary events.8 A few brave historians have even begun relying upon what they have acknowledged to be fictional fragments to fill gaps in the archival record. see A." British Journal of Sociology. The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation(Baltimore. For a fine novel that illustrates clearly the gap between what gets left behind in archives and what really happened. rather than their form. Where would Einstein have been. p. or at least to impressions of them?6 Historians function in just this way. "What distinguishes 'historical' from 'fictional' stories. "The Revival of Narrative: Reflections on a New Old History. 1987).

. It is neither untrue nor untrivial-just uninteresting. reproduction requires sex." pp. For an expansion of this argument. and states will have already figured it out. ExplainingInternationalRelations Since 1945 (New York: Oxford University Press. and the Study of International Relations. the field seems torn between the substance with which it deals-nonreplicable human affairsand the methods many of its practitioners want to employ. however. we regard them as insufficiently discriminating in their effects to provide much useful information beyond what most of us already know. It is of course true that political scientists. Reliable though these are. From a historian's viewpoint 11. pp. and biology. It has never been clear to me why political scientists model their discipline on mathematics. and Christopher Shea. we can use them to make predictions." and "system"? But here the answers are much less clear because so much depends upon context. gravity keeps us from floating off into space. Science. "Political Scientists Clash Over Value of Area Studies. Such pronouncements only raise further questions: what is meant by "anarchy. at least. 1997). and chemistry when they could have chosen geology. See. Vol." Chronicleof Higher Education. pp. physics.11 The strains this straddle produces can be painful indeed. ed.everyonein someway or anotherreliesuponacts of imagination. Anyone who knows the nature of fish. can they apply such techniques to the study of past events in which the human subjects of their research did not directly participate. Consider the following: The questfor parsimony.InternationalSecurity22:1 | 78 My point. I am convinced. Only through the use of imagination. water. which are those of the replicable laboratory sciences. Political Science as LaboratoryScience? Where does political science fit within this range of possibilities extending from physics to poetry? From this outsider's perspective. is that whenever we set out to explain phenomena we cannot replicate. and that if we can only discover what they are. like other social scientists. then. 32-48. Goldthorpe.. For international relations theorists to insist that all nations within an anarchic system practice self-help strikes us as a little like saying that fish within water must learn to swim. "The Uses of History in Sociology. A13-14. "History. though. 1996). 214-215. Historians would acknowledge some such patterns: people grow old and die. on this point. can in a manner of speaking replicate current phenomena by means of surveys and simulations. that these disciplinary preferences generate most of the conflicts-and the incomprehension-that alienate historians.Political scientists seem to assume that simple mechanisms-somewhat like entropy or electromagnetism-drive human events. paleontology. though." in Ngaire Woods. 43 (January 10." "self-help. see John Lewis Gaddis.

and often unpredictable chain of antecedents extending back hundreds of millions of years. and distant causes. George. pp.: United States Institute of Peace. Peter Putnam. global warming or cooling. had the victim not decided to traverse it that day. So too would policymakers. "He slipped. for the vicarious Distinctionsbetweenindependent anddependentvariables. But this could hardly have happened had the path not been icy. D. 12. and Sidney Verba. as of animals. pp. pp. Several distinguished political scientists share the historians' skepticism about parsimony. Robert 0. 84. complex. Keohane.For most phenomena. 1993).and CommonGround| 79 parsimony postpones more than it provides-except. thrill of appearing to do physics. when biology-a field much closer to the human experience-functions so very differently? Biologists assume all organisms to have arisen from a long. But see also Colin Tudge. 20. and Gary King. But exogenous events-shifting continents. 140-141. political scientists claim. had he not been born. thereby establishing causation. plants. The Historians' Craft. trans. The common roots of human beings. are taken for granted. had the law of gravity not applied. one seeks to sort out active from inactive or partially active agents.'5 any less "scientific" than if they attempted to distinguish independent from dependent variables? Accountingfor change. N. Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inferencein Qualitative Research(Princeton. 99-100. in explaining the accident. but they would surely also insist upon their Given the example of evolutionary biology. See George.History. had tectonic processes not uplifted the mountain. Marc Bloch. 15. 14.12 perhaps. See Alexander L. were that somehow possible. But why chemistry. 13. and whatever newly discovered organisms may lie in between. Bridging the Gap: Theory and Practice in Foreign Policy (Washington. would produce vastly different results. p. To see the difficulties historians have with such concepts.: Princeton University Press." we would probably say. 190-191.J. giant killer asteroids-ensure that any replay of evolution. there is some determining antecedent: as in chemistry. (New York: Knopf. 5-6. would they be interdependence. or pumpkins. pp. .Here too political science tilts toward the replicable sciences despite the nonreplicable character of the subjects with which it deals. intermediate. consider Marc Bloch's famous example of a man falling off a mountain.Theory. 1994).C. 1996).14 So what are the independent variables in this instance? Historians might specify the event's immediate.'3 That is why it is hard to find the independent variables for Neanderthals. The Time Before History: 5 Million Years of Human Impact (New York: Simon and Schuster. Gould's WonderfulLife again provides the best overall discussion. Bridging the Gap. 1953). kangaroos.

For a similar argument about cultural space. Paul W. however. 70-81. see Shu Guang Zhang. Vol. pp. 17." or "hegemony. to be sure: that is what case histories are all about. Kristof.InternationalSecurity22:1 | 80 Such sciences assume constancy: principles are expected to work in the same way across time and space." International Security. voltages.Y. an applied science that combines a reliance on replication with an acknowledgment of evolution. Now." New Yorker. No. Schroeder makes this point about time in "Historical Reality vs. that democracies do not fight each other-may not for all time to come? Scientists used to think that proteins could not possibly be infectious agents. about the future. can make the difference between life and death. can evolve means of defending themselves. on the meaning of terms like "power.17 Reproducible results.December 2. that every concept is embedded in a context. especially pp. 18. Neo-realist Theory. 19. N. Physicians seek verification by repeating phenomena." and "deterrence" as having equivalent meanings across centuries and cultures.: Cornell University Press. Deterrence and Strategic Culture: Chinese-American Confrontations." New YorkTimes. 1 (Summer 1994). 1992). They guarantee less than one might think. But they find long-term prediction problematic. John Lanchester.16 Historians know. with mad cows. January 8. and molecular weights. How close are we to agreement. paleontology. See.Replicable sciences assume commensurate standards of measurement: all who aspire to reproducible experimentation must share the same definitions of kilograms. 116-124. and astronomy concern themselves as much with change as with stability. Commensurability. though. Biology." "bandwagoning. so too does medicine. And Is More Deadly Than Ever. geology. for example." or "democracy"? Many political scientists see the "democratic peace" hypothesis as hinging precariously on whether Imperial Germany was a democracy in 1914. "Malaria Makes a Comeback. in this field. International relations theorists follow this procedure when they treat concepts like "balancing. 1996. . though. Nonreplicable sciences share our skepticism. 1997. Particular treatments produce known results against certain diseases-for the moment. though. who are in the best position to know. "A New Kind of Contagion. But historians. Do societies develop the equivalents of medical vulnerabilities and immunities? Can these change. Viruses. so that what works today may not a decade hence. it appears as though they can. Nicholas D. We doubt that even the most rigorous definitions fix phenomena in quite the manner that amber freezes flies. disagree 16.18But that hardly means that all proteins are infectious-it only means that we need to qualify our generalizations.1949-1958 (Ithaca. so that what may hold up as a generalization about the recent past-for example.

and Political Science: Multiple Historical Records and the Problem of Selection Bias." American Political Science Review.and CommonGround| 81 on this point. 1994). Historiography. The chemist Carl Djerassi's novel. Perceptions of Imperial Germany." International Security. 1994). like life. Lynn Hunt. Yet on the basis of what they understand us to have concluded. 1996). (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 165-167 and 182-183. speculate as to its causes.Theory. "The Subjectivity of the 'Democratic' Peace: Changing U. Kuhn. evolve. especially pp. 21.19 The reason is that we have no universally accepted standard for what a democracy actually is. Lustick. confidently incorporating them within their databases. No. 1995). Telling the Truth About History (New York: Norton. . Would historians then jettison the concept of a "democratic peace" if there should prove to be such a glaring exception to it? I think not. 271-309. We live with shifting sands. Historians' interpretations. The BourbakiGambit (New York: Penguin. Thomas Kuhn showed years ago that even in the most rigorous sciences the temptation to see what one seeks can be overwhelming. If I understand them correctly. precisely because we distrust absolute standards. we would qualify what we used to think-whether about proteins or politics-and then move on. most recently reiterated in Ian S. See. Ido Oren. leaving it to our readers to determine which of our interpretations comes closest to the truth. 20. pp. 1988). "History. Objectivity. 2 (Fall 1995). 605-618. Thomas S. 23. pp. That Noble Dream: The "ObjectivityQuestion" and the AmericanHistoricalProfession(New York:Cambridge University Press. No. 19. while finding it prudent not to enter them. Peter Novick.23 The procedure resembles what happens in the "hard" sciences. just as observers at the time did. on this point. and yet insist that democracies really do not fight one another most of the time. 22. Histories: French Constructions of the Past (New York: New Press. 3rd ed.21 No wonder we stand in awe of their edifices.20Like physicians seeking to understand how mad cows might infect those unlucky enough to have eaten them. Vol.History. illustrates the problem from a different viewpoint. 4 (Spring 1995).22Historians have long understood that they too have an "objectivity" problem: our solution has generally been to admit the difficulty and then get on with doing history as best we can. We would probably acknowledge the anomaly. 90 (September 1996). is the most thorough discussion of historians and objectivity. Vol. eds.S. postmodernism has pushed the insight-probably further than Kuhn would have liked-into the social sciences and the fine arts. See. and Margaret Jacobs. Vol.." International Security. Joyce Appleby. The complaint is a familiar one. see Lynn Hunt and Jacques Revel. 20. our political science colleagues make categorical judgments about the past all the time. where it is also possible to construct a consensus without agreeing 19. and hence prefer explanatory tents to temples. The Structure of ScientificRevolutions. 147-184. for example. For an excellent introduction to the debate over postmodernism. Bruce Russett and Michael Doyle are making this point in "Correspondence: The Democratic Peace.

decide among competing historical interpretations. as a start. we still do not know how historians do. with nonreplicable phenomena. therefore-or perhaps a science boundedby faith-remains unclear. 26. manage this better than most of them realize. then.25 Whether we are really dealing with science or faith. to agree on the fundamentals before attempting generalization. SeekingCommonGround Where. Historians are "evolutionary" by instinct if not formal training: were they to make their methods more explicit (as they certainly should)." Raymond Martin. John Ziman. it is striking how many articles in international relations theory-especially in this journal-begin with professions of belief." "hegemonic. . ReliableKnowledge: An Exploration of the Groundsfor Beliefin Science(Cambridge. more than in history and perhaps even physics. We deal inescapably. to build an atomic bomb. 6-10. And yet. See Gould.K. 279." "strategic. this by no means requires. There is a long and fruitful tradition within what we might call the "evolutionary" sciences for finding patterns in particularities that change over time. My preliminary conclusion is that the historians. WonderfulLife. "Objectivity and Meaning in Historical Studies: Toward a Post-Analytic View. 27. U. To be sure.24 Do political scientists think objectivity possible? I find this question surprisingly hard to answer.: Cambridge University Press. nonetheless. 1978). not on processes that take place inside laboratories. followed by quotations from what would appear to be sacred texts. by trying to be too scientific. 32 (February 1993). without trying to be scientific." "constitutional.27 they might find more in 24. or should. 29. each with its own distinctive set of assumptions. p. One of the most prominent practitioners actually prefers the term "historical" science. with the entirely predictable result (to a historian at least) that sects proliferate." and "offensive" forms. vast amounts of time and energy go into perfecting methodologies whose purpose seems to be to remove any possibility of bias: the determination certainly exists.Vol. Physicists who could not settle so fundamental an issue as whether light is a particle or a wave managed. in the subjects with which we deal: we share a focus on people and the ways they organize their affairs. but that the political scientists. pp. A quick survey reveals that "realism" now exists at least in "structural. p. Possibly I have missed others. "After a full century of critical philosophy of history." "defensive. accomplish less than they might. Dogmas are defended and heresies condemned. therefore. that we do so unscientifically." History and Theory.InternationalSecurity22:1 | 82 upon all of the generalizations that make it up. might historians and political scientists find common ground? Surely. however. 25.26 Which of our two disciplines best reflects it is an interesting question.

Keohane. they depend upon theory. and that many of our conclusions about what did happen involve an implicit consideration of paths not taken-which is of course fiction. 9-10. What results is a kind of tailoring: we seek the best "fit" given the materials at hand. See. to an' interest in "processtracing" as a way of extracting generalities from unique sequences of events. Mitchell Waldrop. Such accounts cannot help but combine the general with the particular: revolutions. Farley. Nor can we function without imagination: like a good tailor. are explicit to a fault: their problem is that they cannot seem to decide what kind of science-replicable or nonreplicable-they want to do. among some political scientists. 1996).. The concept of "increasing returns" in economics also involves tracing processes over time. a highly artificial modeling of what happened in the past involving the tracing of processes-as well as structures-over time. from the construction of narratives. Lessons (New York: Oxford University Press. Complexity:The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos (New York: Viking. among other things. we try to see things from the perspective of our subjects and only then make alterations based upon our own.and CommonGround| 83 common with other sciences than they expect.-Soviet Security Cooperation:Achievements. I think-in a careful comparison of what our two fields mean by "narrative" and "process-tracing"-that the most promising opportunities for cooperation between historians and political scientists currently lie. Alexander L.History. however. for example. for example. without the slightest illusion that we are replicating whatever it is they cover. But is there really a choice? I detect. Implicit in all of this is some sense of what might have been: the assumption that history did not have to have happened in the way it did.S. pp. This "tailoring" metaphor owes a lot to John Le Carre's novel The Tailorof Panama (New York: Knopf. George. require facts-even awkward ones inconsistent with theories-for without these no link to the past could even exist. They also. This has led.Theory. and Alexander Dallin. Political scientists. 1992). which is what historians do? It is here. Failures. 15-51. 1988). though. Any historical narrative is a simulation. Philip J.28 How is this different. . but the details of each one differ. or that our handiwork will "wear well" for all time to come. eds. see M. pp.29Are such methods "scientific"? Of course they are: "hard" scientists ponder alternative 28. conversely. where the editors comment in turn on the work of Robert Axelrod and Robert 0. For an introduction. U. 29. a growing sense that there is not: that insurmountable difficulties arise when one tries to apply the methods of replicable science to the nonreplicable realm of human affairs. have certain common characteristics. Historians could hardly write about revolutions without some prior assumptions as to what these are and what we need to know about them: in this sense.

1996). If common ground exists here. 30. No one can be certain where or when the next great earthquake will occur. CounterfactualThoughtExperimentsin WorldPolitics: Logical. See Philip E. is not so much to predict the future as to preparefor it. judgments. in all of these instances. Not Predicting Return. But what about prediction. 1992). Both disciplines fall squarely within the spectrum of "nonreplicable" sciences. too. 1996). though. or what its outcome will be." Steven Weinberg. on who will play in the 2001 World Series. The former assume that knowing the past will reveal the future. It seems safe enough to assume. that proficiency will determine which teams get there: achieving it. Preparing. Many political scientists embrace them enthusiastically. Methodological. though. For the importance of proficiency in baseball. they have already begun to do so.: Princeton University Press.32 Not even the most capable war planner can predict where the next war will occur. even aesthetic. not funnel clouds. But is it equally clear that war planning should therefore cease? The point. 31. therefore. is a kind of configuring against contingencies.J.InternationalSecurity22:1 | 84 scenarios all the time. 32. Full House: The Spreadof Excellencefrom Plato to Darwin (New York: Harmony Books. Dreams of a Final Theory (New York: Pantheon. N. to our initial distinction between replicable and nonreplicable sciences. though. . 77-135. often on the basis of intuitive. p. the latter avoid such claims. especially pp. Both employ imagination. may have more in common than their "narcissism of minor differences" has allowed them to acknowledge. it may be hard to find. eds.30 Can political scientists live with such methods? If their rapidly developing interest in counterfactuals is any indication. Nobody would prudently bet.31 Our fields.. Tetlock and Aaron Belkin. "The consensus in favor of physical theories has often been reached on the basis of aesthetic judgments before the experimental evidence for these theories became really compelling. 130. see Stephen Jay Gould. but seek nonetheless to provide methods for coping with whatever is to come.and Psychological Perspectives (Princeton. It is helpful to know. Both trace processes over time. or at least policy implications? Most historians shy from these priorities like vampires confronted with crosses. just yet. that such upheavals take place more frequently in California than in Kansas: that people who live along the San Andreas Fault should configure their houses against seismic shocks. Both use counterfactual reasoning.

joint exploration. or at least could be. common ground for historians and political scientists: the terrain upon which to train may be more accessible-and hospitable-than at first glance it might appear to be.and CommonGround| 85 Training is not forecasting. or reading William H. our wisdom. What it does do is expand ranges of experience.History.both directly and vicariously. if all goes well. our stamina-and. so that we can increase our skills. McNeill. at a minimum. flying a 747 simulator. It deserves. . Here too there is. The principle is much the same whether one is working out in a gym.Theory.