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American Exceptionalism

By Matthew Yglesias on September 23, 2006 at 12:18 pm

"American Exceptionalism"

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Darrin McMahon observes that “Whereas you can go to almost any small college in America and find, say, a professor or two of French or German history, you will be hard-pressed to find a professor of American history anywhere in France or Germany.” Kevin Drum puts this in the “things I didn’t know” file. Yesterday, I made some vague efforts to ascertain whether or not it’s true, at least as applied to France where I sort of speak the language. It was a bit hard to say. At ENS one of the thirteen historians on the faculty is an Americanist.

Delving beyond that, though, I couldn’t really tell what was going on. The truth of the matter is that the American system of higher education and the French system of higher education are very different so I don’t even know what a valid comparison would be.

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