history without diversity. As inheritors of tha…the alt-right who can be convinced that an accurate representation of historical diversity matters. But productively responding to people like Watson will have to mean more than just correcting his shallow understanding. It will mean taking a serious look at those textbooks he cited and thinking critically about our discipline’s long complicity in whitewashing history. The classicists of the past have a share of the blame for shaping an alt-right-friendly vision of European history without diversity. As inheritors of that tradition, the classicists of today have a responsibility to do more to rectify those mistakes.
… If the alt right are impervious to correction via historical fact, they’ll be a lot more impervious to correction via reception theory. And if the audience you’re seeking to convince are those “who aren’t hardened keyboard warriors”, and who are still open to being persuaded, then I’d have thought they’re going to be more readily persuaded via historical fact than via reception theory, too.
If doing historical scholarship is not actually “fighting” the alt right, neither is doing critical theory scholarship. And if the aim is persuasion of the middle (as opposed to street-fighting, or preaching to the converted), then penitence and sackcloth has limited rhetorical appeal. (As do ad hominem attacks.)