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Governing AmericaThe Revival of Political History$
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Julian E. Zelizer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691150734

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691150734.001.0001

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Clio’s Lost Tribe: Public Policy History Since 1978

Clio’s Lost Tribe: Public Policy History Since 1978

(p.41) Two Clio’s Lost Tribe: Public Policy History Since 1978
Governing America

Julian E. Zelizer

Princeton University Press

This chapter traces the history of U.S. public policy since 1978. It first considers the professional development of public historians before discussing the arguments that policy historians make regarding the value of their research to policymaking. In particular, it looks at the scholarship of university professors and describes five categories of historical research: Institutional and Cultural Persistence, Lost Alternatives, Historical Correctives, Political Culture, and Process Evolution. These categories of research offer work that is distinct from the emphasis of mainstream policy analysts and can provide guidance to policymakers without becoming advocates. The chapter situates recent research within these categories and explains their analytic value, arguing that historians should be speaking with greater authority in the world of governance so that policy history will not continue to be “Clio's lost tribe.”

Keywords:   policy, professional development, public historians, policymaking, university professors, historical research, governance, policy history

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