Talk:The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism

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 Definition Book report, Robert William Fogel's The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism, 2000. [d] [e]
Checklist and Archives
 Workgroup categories Economics, History and Religion [Editors asked to check categories]
 Talk Archive none  English language variant American English

Help with Categories and Subpages

Will someone add Category Religion Workgroup to this article, and explain to me how to do that in future.

Will someone include subpage 'Addendum' for future supplementary text.

Thank you. --Anthony.Sebastian (Talk) 17:23, 3 October 2007 (CDT)

How to put an already partially completed checklist on top of this page

I have already started a checklist, via 'Start article with subpages'. How do I put the already partially completed checklist on top of this page? --Anthony.Sebastian (Talk) 17:30, 3 October 2007 (CDT)

I see you got it. I hope you found it nice and simple, once you knew the trick. Chris Day (talk) 22:21, 4 October 2007 (CDT)


The title of this article is too long; at least, on Firefox the text gets jammed together as it spills on to a second line. I don't think we need the info in parentheses. John Stephenson 23:28, 4 October 2007 (CDT)

John: I'm okay with shortening the title by removing the parenthetical text. However, I do not know how to do it and still keep everything intact, including links to the article from other articles, the checklist, etc. I will try when I have time. --Anthony.Sebastian (Talk) 12:15, 5 October 2007 (CDT)

Image width

Hi Anthony--the image is still so wide that it is causing the dreaded Horizontal Scrolling, and making the text spill out into the grey area. This makes the article unreadable for me. If you created the image, could you change not the display size of the image but the width of the text columns in the image itself? The smaller image size makes the text hard to read in any case. Even better (because more accessible) would be simply to type in the text from the image into a wikitable. If you need help creating a wikitable, I'm sure there are plenty of people who would help. --Larry Sanger 18:34, 31 December 2008 (UTC)


Too little attention is given to criticisms of Professor Fogel's thesis. Three references (11, 12 and 13) are quoted, but the hyperlnks to 11 and 13 make no connection, which makes it difficult to find what is missing. In any case, there should be a brief account in the text of the main points made by critics, Nick Gardner 21:10, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Will work on that. Thanks. Anthony.Sebastian 03:30, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

The question of balance is critical here. This book is not a widely accepted work of scholarly repute, but is regarded as of interest mainly because of the author's having a Nobel Prize in an field unrelated. On that basis, William Shockley's views upon the genetic deterioration of blacks in America is a worthy topic. The speculative nature of this work should be made clear, along with the objections to it. It may be more of interest as evidence that bright and skilled minds can go amok. It adds little to CZ to make this article on an eccentric thesis an "approved article" unless a really solid perspective is supplied. John R. Brews 19:10, 13 August 2011 (UTC)


It seems that the table is not adapted but copied from the publisher's website and According to its copyright notice the original copyright notice has to be reproduced here. I am not sure that this is compatible with our license. Moreover, the same table is duplicated on the Addendum subpage.

Anthony, I know that you like long annotations but to me this article reads more like publisher's blurb than as a presentation of the author's thesis.

Another remark: In an encyclopedic article it is not suitable to address the author as "Professor" Fogel, I think.

--Peter Schmitt 00:06, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

Thanks, Peter. I will attend to each of your remarks, as well Nick's above. Anthony.Sebastian 03:30, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

major conceptual problems

This "article" is essentially a table and a list of bullet points. History is not a list.

There is no discussion/criticism of the concept of "awakening." "Surges in religious fervor and organization" do not constitute an "awakening" which is cultural shift as in the first and second great awakenings. To go beyond the second great awakening is to just play with historiographical interpretations (e.g., if there was a first and second, there must be a third and fourth, no?), and just faulty reasoning. Sure, religious fervor has caused political changes in late nineteenth and twentieth centuries (e.g. the Social Gospel, and the Moral Majority), but to suggest that these movements constitutes a "cultural awakening" is just hooey. In the first two awakenings the results were fundamental reorganizations of American religion; I just don't see it happening later. The article should be more critical of this spurious theory.

Russell D. Jones 16:39, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

I certainly can't argue with Russell's points made above -- from a quick glance at the article, I would almost certainly agree with all of them. Moreover, it seems to me that this article is essential a "book review" and a synopsis of the contents of that book, with help from a Web site. Whether or not the article falls within what CZ considers an "article" to be, I'm not very clear. Right now, as Secretary of the Editorial Council, I have just moved a proposed Motion from the Discussion period to the Voting period -- this Motion, which has been discussed and revised for several weeks now by members of the EC, will, I hope, redefine the "Approval Process" in a useful way. I am assuming that this Motion will be accepted by the EC as a whole within the present 36-hour time frame. I suggest, therefore, that nothing further be done about the possibility of Approval of this draft article until the Motion has been passed. At which point, other perspectives may possibly be brought to bear upon the article and its proposed Approval. Hayford Peirce 17:33, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
As the initiator and chief contributor to this article, I suggest we remove it from consideration for approval until I've had the opportunity to revise it in respect of the comments here on the Talk page.
Incidentally, Russell, you are disputing Fogel's concepts, and Fogel might might well lose in a debate with you. But CZ cannot articulate a point of view. I'm just trying to summarize the content of Fogel's book. There are published critiques of Fogel's concepts, and we can include them. I'm working on that section of the article, as time permits. If you know of any published thoughtful critiques that resonate with your exceptions, perhaps you could add to the article, or call them to my attention for inclusion. We could also incorporate a 'Signed Article' subpage. Anthony.Sebastian 03:15, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Does the article provide an accurate account of the book that will be useful to readers who want a summary? If the answer to that question is yes, I suggest that it deserves approval, regardless of other considerations. Nick Gardner 09:55, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Well, articles about specific books are certainly legitimate subjects. But I think that any article about a book certainly wants to have appraisals of the book in the question, rather than just being a resume or summary of the book. It should be put into historical context, perhaps, and, well, you know all the other things that should be mentioned. If this particular article has some of that, then there shouldn't be a problem. In any case, the new "Approvals process" now has, I think, five positive votes at the EC, so it should be passed shortly. Hayford Peirce 19:04, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
I think the article should be critical of the concept and of the shortcomings of the book. Pull no punches. If we're writing a book review we should be critical. There is no value in writing a "cliff notes" version or objective summary of the book. If it's conceptually flawed (and it is), we should say so.
Here're some problems that the article needs to address
  1. by what standard does a Nobel-prize-winning economist demonstrate competency in American religious-cultural movements? There seems to be an attempt to address this issue in the section "Why does an economist concern himself..." but it's just a list of bullet points summarizing Fogel's argument about imbalance. He's an economist. How does he measure the immaterial? We need to know.
  2. What is Fogel's definition of a "Great Awakening" and does his evidence meet this definition? As I mentioned above, "an upsurge in religious fervor" just isn't rigorous enough a definition to test historically. What are the common causes of these "upsurges?" What common consequences?
  3. What evidence (by evidence I mean events, movements, people, books, ideas, etc.) has Fogel downplayed or ignored that undermine his thesis? and
  4. Is he holding to the same standards of evidence for the supposed "third" and "fourth" awakenings as for the first two Great Awakenings? (I doubt it.)
  5. The article needs to emphasize that this is a highly-contentious historiographical interpretation. How contentious? Consider this: not a single leading historical journal, outside of the economics discipline (the Journal of Economic History and the Business History Review did review the book but they can be forgiven because Fogel is a Nobel-prize-winning economist; how could they ignore him?), has reviewed the book, not the American Historical Review, not the Journal of American History, not Reviews in American History. It's clear that (after a decade now) the history profession has not recognized this book as legitimate historical scholarship. This article needs to be clear about that. His theories are about as accurate as the Moon Landing Hoax. Jon Butler in the BHR noted that Fogel's argument "has only limited success" and that the awakening schema is "fraught with difficulty, especially in its depictions of a first and third Great Awakening and in its insistence on 'cycles' of awakenings in American history." We should consult here also Frank Lambert's Inventing the 'Great Awakening' (1999) And Edward Zajac in the Journal of Economic History noted that "Fogel's book represents big-picture research that often collapses complex events into thumbnail sketches. It is thus open to attack for sins of over-simplification, over-generalization, omission of important details, and lack of rigor." Both reviewers though had praise for the book too, but they were critical enough to point out the flaws. Our article should too.
  6. The "Responses" section doesn't contain one response that is critical of the professor or the book.
  7. Are you aware also of his book "Time on the Cross?" It got blasted in the historical literature when it came out years ago. Fogel is no stranger to problematic historiographical interpretations.

Russell D. Jones 22:34, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

(Unindent) By a vote of 6-0, with one member not voting, the Council has approved Motion EC:2011-032 concerning changes in the Approval process of articles. You may read the entire discussion at: Hayford Peirce 15:40, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

Hayford, I looked at that and can't make any sense of it. Where is the policy? Russell D. Jones 22:34, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Russell, the wording of the Motion is here -- it's a very lengthy motion, and one that took us a long time to agree on. -- please note that this is about the PROCESS of Approval, it does NOT address the qualifications for Approval, an entirely different matter. Hopefully the people who will now make Approvals will be guided enough by the Process details to eventually make clear what the qualifications are. I'm sure that Peter can explain it to you better than I can, or, indeed, any of the other members of the EC.... Hayford Peirce 01:04, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

(Unindent) Russell, regarding your thoughts on the conceptual problems in Fogel's book, it would make an excellent contribution to this article if you submitted a Signed Article to accompany the article—see CZ:Signed Articles. It would be inappropriate to include some of your criticisms of the book in the main article, but they could be elaborated on in a signed article. I will incorporate the factual material you mentioned, such as the non-reviews of Fogel's book in top historical journals, into the article. I also plan to include published negative responses to the book, and if you know of others than the ones you mentioned, please call them to my attention. I will bring in Lambert's, Zajac's, and Butler's published criticisms. Thanks for your help. Anthony.Sebastian 02:24, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

Process of approval

Hayforth above says:

Russell, the wording of the Motion is here -- it's a very lengthy motion, and one that took us a long time to agree on. -- please note that this is about the PROCESS of Approval, it does NOT address the qualifications for Approval, an entirely different matter. Hopefully the people who will now make Approvals will be guided enough by the Process details to eventually make clear what the qualifications are. I'm sure that Peter can explain it to you better than I can, or, indeed, any of the other members of the EC.... Hayford Peirce 01:04, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

The wording referred to begins:

Approved Citizendium articles are those which are formally acknowledged as reliable as well as informative and well-written according to the project's standards of quality.

This statement appears to be some kind of "qualifications" statement. I'd assume that it describes qualities of approved articles, and that satisfying these criteria is only a beginning of qualification. Personally, I'd object to book reviews as approved articles, and require that approved articles must be intended to treat entire topics or sub-topics, and use books only to flesh out the overall discussion. John R. Brews 16:35, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

John, as Hayford mentioned, the EC put the 'qualification statement' in only as a general statement. Precise formulation of approval qualifications has not been done since the charter was adopted.
I've already agreed that this article describing Robert Fogel's book is not ready for consideration of approval, and I plan to ask that it be removed from consideration at this time. I plan to work further on it in accord with suggestions made here on the Talk page.
I disagree with the idea of never approving articles that treat of the contents of a book. That would exclude articles describing the contents of many books that would be of value to readers, and that would allow authors contributing to articles that refer to the book to link to the book article for further information. Anthony.Sebastian 01:35, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
edit: change "allow" to "not allow". Anthony.Sebastian 02:28, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
I think that we have to distinguish between a "book review" and "an article about a book". A "book review", to my mind, is the sort of thing the New York Times does in their weekly section about mysteries. An "article" about a book is the sort of thing that Edmund Wilson used to do in The New Yorker. Ie, he might tell you something about the book in question, but he also put it into historical context, etc. etc. A CZ article about a specific book should do that, plus examine it from different points of view. A straightforward "book review" of, say, Pride and Prejudice or The Origin of Species should NOT ever become an Approved article. An article about either of them could, if good enough, be Approved. Hayford Peirce 03:13, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
It seems to me that this book has been very extensively reviewed - and I found these quickly -here,here,here,here, here,("Fogel’s book represents big-picture research that often collapses complex events into thumbnail sketches. It is thus open to attack for sins of oversimplification, overgeneralization, omission of important details, and lack of rigor. Inasmuch as each of Fogel’s great awakenings have lasted about a century and we are only 40 years into the 4thGA, it may be a while before we see whether or not Fogel’s book becomes a classic or is confined to the dust bin of failed grand theories.")and here, and here. It does seem to me therefore that an article about this book is very appropriate - not another review of it, but perhaps a 'meta-review'?Gareth Leng 09:46, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes, a "meta-review" is the right way to think about the work of writing a CZ article about a book, I think. We, as readers of the article, need some information about the contents of the book: what is the author's main argument, how does the author go about making that argument? But what makes a scholarly book important is what it contributes to broader discussions and how it is received; we need to hear about those items, too, in order to understand the book's significance. With a novel, the situation would run parallel: the important contextual information is the impact that the book has had on the public generally and on other authors. -Joe Quick 15:51, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Joe, I would like to remove the article from consideration of approval, until I can make the changes that respond to everyone's comments, for which I am grateful. Will you arrange that with Nick, please. Thank you. Anthony.Sebastian 04:10, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
That seems the right course of action. I'm going to remove the article from the approval queue for now, but do please let me know at the Approval Manager account talk page whenever you feel like the article is ready to recommence the approval process. If you hurry, it might even be the first one I'll get to guide through the new approval process as Manager! ;) -- Joe (Approval Manager) 05:12, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

Relation to article: Fourth Great Awakening: Approval of a review of a book before its subject?

It seems a wrong order of events to me to be considering an "appraisal" of Fogel's book for elevation to approved status when the subject of that book is discussed in Fourth Great Awakening and that article is not under similar consideration, and remains incomplete. I'd suggest that until the article discussing the subject of Fogel's book is developed and approved, it is nonsense to approve a book whose only reason for existence is this debatable topic. In fact, a decent discussion of the topic probably would make use of Fogel's book and make this review of it redundant. John R. Brews 14:51, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

I don't know whether or not another article would make this one redundant, but otherwise I certainly agree with John's comments above. Hayford Peirce 15:58, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Just my personal opinion, but I think the book and the topic it addresses are enough different to warrant two separate articles. It sounds like any article about the Fourth Great Awakening that doesn't take this book into account would be wanting. But what makes for a good article about the book is a discussion of why and how the book has been important to people who think about the Fourth Great Awakening, not a rehearsal of each thing the book contains. So, assuming they each stick to their own topics, two separate articles makes sense. As far as approving one before the other, it would probably be logical to get the article about the book's topic approved first so as to provide background for the article about the book itself, but I don't really think this is necessary. Why hold up recognition of one good piece of work just because another one isn't as good yet? --Joe Quick 05:20, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
Joe: The situation here is somewhat akin to approving an article discussing a particular paper applying the theory of phlogiston before an article on the subject of phlogiston has been completed, nevermind approved. There are basic issues about the topic which surely must impact the appraisal of the paper. In effect, a solid presentation of the paper must rely upon a solid appraisal of the topic, and so cannot be presented without the latter. John R. Brews 14:12, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
On the basic principle, I agree. But the fact that we don't have the article on the subject of phlogiston doesn't mean it hasn't been written at all. A solid presentation of the paper may be achieved in this forum while the appraisal of the topic upon which it relies exists in another forum. Obviously, I'd prefer to have both articles here and it would be good to see people working on the missing article soon, but I still maintain that the absence of one article is not sufficient reason to hold up the approval of another article. -Joe Quick 16:47, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
My own unofficial feeling is that if we have a finished article about *any* subject that is good enough for approval on its own merits, then we shouldn't have to wait for a more encompassing article about it to be written. Let's say, for instance, that we have two absolutely *perfect* articles about Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays -- do we have to have a definitive article about baseball and not just a stub before we can approve the first two? In my opinion: no. Hayford Peirce 17:03, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

outdent Yes, a discussion of gravity doesn't need to await the "theory of everything". This book about Fourth Great Awakening appears to be the originating document for the concept of Fourth Great Awakening. If the notion of the Fourth Great Awakening is controversial, it is hard to see how the discussion of the book can avoid appraisal of this controversy, unless it simply says "Hey, this book started a controversy, which is ongoing." Of course, that is an approach, but hardly a serious attempt to set the book in context and assess its value. John R. Brews 17:41, 15 August 2011 (UTC) Here is an example that shows how intermixed these topics are. John R. Brews 17:56, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

Interesting discussion, thoughtful comments. Non-fiction books as topics for CZ encyclopedia entries seem reasonable to me whether CZ has a related parent topic article or not, assuming the discussion of the book meets the standards of quality. Many books I might consider eligible might even need several parent topics.
In regard to the article about Fogel's book, which I started and contributed most to, I recognize now, from all the comments, that it has many shortcomings, none of which I believe irremediable. I consider my efforts in writing the article a learning experience, and expect to learn much more in the process of further developing the article to improve it along the lines many have suggested.
I hope others who have read the book might find themselves interested in collaborating. Anthony.Sebastian 04:28, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm glad to hear it, Anthony. I wish I had read the book so I could help. Perhaps there are other sources that your work will reveal that can help with the development of an article on the debate regarding Fourth Great Awakening itself. -Joe Quick 05:11, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

Did Fogel's book originate the concept of 'The Fourth Great Awakening'?

John, you write above: "This book about Fourth Great Awakening appears to be the originating document for the concept of Fourth Great Awakening. If the notion of the Fourth Great Awakening is controversial, it is hard to see how the discussion of the book can avoid appraisal of this controversy, unless it simply says "Hey, this book started a controversy, which is ongoing.""

Actually, for the concept, Fogel drew upon William G. McLoughlin's original work, Revivals, Awakenings and Reform, written some twenty years earlier. McLoughlin's book is cited in the Main Article's introduction. In fact, McLoughlin devoted an entire chapter of 38 pages, entitled "The Fourth Great Awakening", in the book, and did not consider a fourth awakening as controversial, but described his view of it in detail, and distinguished it from the third great awakening.

Not surprisingly, not everyone buys into the concept, as noted in the incomplete section on responses to Fogel's book. Professor John Murray, Department of Economics at the University of Toledo, and historian of religion in America, expressed skepticism regarding many of Fogel's assertions about the Great Awakenings, and questioned whether the fourth exhibited sufficient coherence to support Fogel’s theses:

On a very basic level, Fogel emphasizes the importance of religion as a causal factor in historical analysis, and his attempt to synthesize political, technological, and health related issues is admirable…In the end, this reader was not persuaded that there were in fact four Great Awakenings or that the fourth was coherent enough to influence social policy.

I'm hoping that further development of the section on published responses to Fogel's book will provide the reader a clear view of what social scientists think about Fogel's theses. Work to do... —Anthony.Sebastian 02:12, 18 August 2011 (UTC)