Kaye, Harvey J. 1949–

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Kaye, Harvey J. 1949–

(Harvey Jordan Kaye)

PERSONAL: Born October 9, 1949, in Englewood, NJ; son of Murray N. (a contractor) and Frances A. (a sales clerk) Kaye; married Lorna C. Stewart, May 5, 1973; children: Rhiannon, Fiona. Education: Attended National University of Mexico, 1970; Rutgers University, B.A., 1971; University of London, M.A., 1973; Louisiana State University, Ph.D., 1976. Politics: "Democratic socialist." Religion: Jewish.

ADDRESSES: HomeGreen Bay, WI. Office—Department of Social Change and Development, University of WisconsinGreen Bay, Green Bay, WI 54301. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Writer, editor, historian, and educator. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, instructor in social science and assistant director of summer school in Mexico City, 1974, 1975; St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN, assistant professor of social science, 1977–78; University of Wisconsin—Green Bay, assistant professor, 1978–83, associate professor, 1983–85, professor of social change and development, 1985–88, Rosenberg Professor of Social Change and Development, 1990–, chair of department of social change and development, 1985–88, director of Center for History and Social Change, 1990–. Visiting fellow at Institute for Advanced Research in the Humanities, University of Birmingham, 1986–87. Executor of George Rude's literary estate, 1993–.

MEMBER: American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, American Studies Association, Wisconsin Labor History Society (vice president, 1984–86).

AWARDS, HONORS: Lilly Endowment fellow, 1978–79; Wisconsin Humanities Council grant, 1979–80; National Endowment for the Humanities fellow, 1981, 1983, 2002–03; Isaac Deutscher Memorial Prize, 1993, for The Education of Desire: Marxists and the Writing of History; "Best Book for the Teen Age 2001" designation, New York Public Library, for Thomas Paine: Firebrand of the Revolution; Wisconsin Library Association Outstanding Achievement Award, 2006, for Thomas Paine and the Promise of America; Founders Award for Scholarship; Founders Award for Institutional Development.


The British Marxist Historians: An Introductory Analysis, Polity Press (New York, NY), 1984.

(Editor and author of introduction) Selected Writings of V.G. Kiernan, Volume 1: History, Classes and Nation-States, Basil Blackwell/Polity Press (Oxford, England), 1988, Volume 2: Poets, Politics, and the People, Verso (New York, NY), 1989, Volume 3: Imperialism and Its Contradictions, Routledge (New York, NY), 1995.

(Editor and author of introduction) The Face of the Crowd: Studies in Revolution, Ideology, and Popular Protest: Selected Essays of George Rude, Humanities (Atlantic Highlands, NJ), 1988.

(Editor, with Keith McClelland, and contributor) E.P. Thompson: Critical Perspectives, Temple University Press (Philadelphia, PA), 1990.

The Powers of the Past: Reflections on the Crisis and the Promise of History, University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1991.

The Education of Desire: Marxists and the Writing of History, Routledge (New York, NY), 1992.

(Editor, with Mari Jo Buhle and Paul Buhle, and contributor) The American Radical, Routledge (New York, NY), 1994.

(Editor) George Rude, Ideology and Popular Protest, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 1995.

Why Do Ruling Classes Fear History?, and Other Questions, foreword by Daniel Singer, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1996.

Thomas Paine: Firebrand of the Revolution (young adult biography), Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2000.

(Editor) George Rude, Revolutionary Europe, Blackwell (Cambridge, MA), 2000.

Are We Good Citizens? Affairs Political, Literary, and Academic, foreword by Frances Fox Piven, Teachers College Press (New York, NY), 2001.

Thomas Paine and the Promise of America, Hill & Wang (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor to books, including After the End of History, edited by J. Gardner, Collins & Brown (London, England), 1992; Protest and Survival: Essays for E.P. Thompson, edited by J. Rule and R. Malcolmson, New Press (New York, NY), 1993; and Writing and Reading Arguments: A Rhetoric and Reader, edited by R.P. Batteiger, Allyn & Bacon (Boston, MA), 1994. Contributor to encyclopedias. Editor, with Elliott J. Gorn, of "American Radicals" series, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1994–. Contributor to numerous periodicals, including Politics and Society, Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, Times Higher Education Supplement, Chronicle of Higher Education, Radical History Review, Contemporary Sociology, and American Historical Review. Member of editorial board, Marxist Perspectives, 1978–80, Wisconsin Sociologist, 1985–87, 1991–93, and Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, 1993–.

The Powers of the Past: Reflections on the Crisis and the Promise of History has been published in Korean; The Face of the Crowd: Studies in Revolution, Ideology, and Popular Protest: Selected Essays of George Rude has been published in Spanish.

SIDELIGHTS: Writer, editor, and historian Harvey J. Kaye is a university professor of social change and development. Kaye's scholarly interests include British Marxists and the effects of Marxism worldwide. Much of his work explores concepts of revolution and radical political change, and includes biographies of prominent revolutionaries such as Thomas Paine. In The American Radical, edited with Mari Jo Buhle and Paul Buhle, Kaye and his coeditors collect biographical profiles of forty-six figures who were and are considered radicals, but who worked tireless to bring about social, political, and economic change in the United States. Among the book's subjects are union leader Mother Jones; poet Walt Whitman; musician Woody Guthrie, known for his songs of protest; African American poet Audre Lorde; Ottawa warrior Pontiac, who rebelled against the British in the 1760s; Eugene Debs; Malcolm X; Martin Luther King, Jr., and many more. The book "presents figures who inspire as well as instruct, and serves as an excellent introduction to American radicalism," noted Erwin Knoll in the Progressive. In another Progressive reviewer, Matthew Rothschild concluded: "This is an ideal book to acquaint high-school or college students with the rich tradition of American radicalism, and it is a handy guide for leftists of any age."

In Why Do Ruling Classes Fear History?, and Other Questions, Kaye presents a series of essays exploring reasons why those in power seek to avoid the lessons of history and, more importantly, why they try to keep the general population from realizing the nature of the democratic struggle for freedom and justice that begins with a knowledge of history and what the country has already experienced in its search for freedom. The book "aims to invigorate America's lagging Left," noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Kaye sees American conservatives as trying to create an atmosphere of "lowered expectations" where citizens do not demand and expect the rights to which they are entitled, and where democracy cannot fully function. Kaye endorses the proposed National History Standards as a way of ensuring that historical knowledge is disseminated and reaches those who need it most. He looks at the works of such radicals as Thomas Paine, E.P. Thompson, and C. Wright Mills, and finds hope for the cause of keeping the ruling elites on notice through knowledge and education. Kaye also defines the American radical tradition and how this tradition offers a "nourishing source of hope for the possibility of change and of effective individual and collective action," remarked Mary Carroll in Booklist.

A number of Kaye's works focus on revolutionary-era political figure and radical Thomas Paine. In Thomas Paine: Firebrand of the Revolution a biography geared for middle-grade and high-school readers, Kaye traces Paine's professional development from an apprentice corset maker, to a seaman on a privateer, to political writer, to a radical figure whose thoughts and writings had a deeply profound effect on the development of the nascent United States. Kaye covers Paine's personal background, the political beliefs that propelled him, and what he accomplished through his radical ideas and fearless writing. The "writing is lively and unbiased, fairly discussing Paine's disappointments and failures" along with his substantial successes, noted Marilyn Long Graham in School Library Journal. Kaye pays particular attention to the publication of Paine's radical, influential pamphlet, Common Sense. He notes that Paine was against slavery and in favor of rights for women, and that his political involvements stretched throughout America and into France and England. Carolyn Phelan, writing in Booklist, called the book "a solid, readable choice for biography collections."

In another Paine title, Thomas Paine and the Promise of America, Kaye focuses on the legacy left behind by Paine's ideas, works, and actions. He identifies Paine as an original radical democrat who energized two centuries of leftists, including suffragettes, abolitionists, workers, socialist, and historians. Paine's writings were among the largest circulated in his day, and despite the lessening of Paine's stature in the many years following his death, Kaye finds his political legacy to still be influential. A Kirkus Reviews critic called the book a "first-rate analysis of original American political thought that has survived deep ecclesiastical enmity." A Publishers Weekly reviewer named the book a "masterful and eloquent study" of the historical figure Kaye sees as the "key figure in the American Revolution and the radical politics that followed it." Kaye "does a fine job of tracing Paine's impact upon a wide variety of causes," observed Library Journal reviewer T.J. Schaeper.

Kaye once told CA: "All of my writings are concerned with history: historical perspective, historical consciousness, and historical imagination. I attribute this to the influence of my grandfather, a lawyer and student of history. The words of Antonio Gramsci well state the feeling for the past he instilled in me: 'I think you must like history as I did when I was your age, for it deals with men and women as they unite together in society and work and struggle and make a bid for a better life.' Remembrance can contribute to liberation.

"My interest in the British Marxist historians—Maurice Dobb, Rodney Hilton, Christopher Hill, Eric Hobsbawm, George Rude, E.P. Thompson, and Victor Kiernan (along with others)—can be understood in these terms: they have contributed more than any other group of historians to the development of the approach to studying the past known as history from below or from the bottom up; recovering the lives, struggles, and aspirations of the common people, peasants, and workers."

Kaye added: "Increasingly, I find myself exploring the American radical tradition. Co-editing The American Radical, for which I wrote the chapter on Tom Paine, I was impressed by the diversity and pluralism which have characterized the history of American radicalism. And I have come to understand America's revolutionaries, rebels and reformers as 'the prophetic memory of American democracy.' Truly a 'tradition,' every generation of American radicals has found inspiration in the struggles and aspirations of its predecessors, and this experience, or process, has regularly transcended lines of race, ethnicity, and gender."



Booklist, January 1, 1996, Mary Carroll, review of Why Do Ruling Classes Fear History?, and Other Questions, p. 759; March 1, 2000, Carolyn Phelan, review of Thomas Paine: Firebrand of the Revolution, p. 1235; August, 2005, Gilbert Taylor, review of Thomas Paine and the Promise of America, p. 1973.

History Today, February, 1996, Brian Dooley, review of The American Radical, p. 58; August, 1996, David Washbrook, review of Imperialism and Its Contradictions, p. 56.

Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2005, review of Thomas Paine and the Promise of America, p. 672.

Library Journal, April 1, 2000, Thomas A. Karel, review of Thomas Paine, p. 117; August 1, 2005, T.J. Schaeper, review of Thomas Paine and the Promise of America, p. 96.

Mother Jones, December, 2005, Joshua Wolf Shenk, "Doubting Thomas," review of Thomas Paine and the Promise of America, p. 69.

Progressive, October, 1994, Erwin Knoll, review of The American Radical, p. 48; January, 1995, Matthew Rothschild, review of The American Radical, p. 39.

Publishers Weekly, November 13, 1995, review of Why Do Ruling Classes Fear History?, p. 54; May 16, 2005, review of Thomas Paine and the Promise of America, p. 47.

School Library Journal, April, 2000, Marilyn Long Graham, review of Thomas Paine, p. 150.


University of Wisconsin—Green Bay Department of History Web site, http://www.uwgb.edu/history/ (November 1, 2006), profile of Harvey J. Kaye.