In this conversation with RevDem editor Ferenc Laczó, Darrin M. McMahon – author of the new book Equality: The History of an Elusive Idea – discusses his approach to the intellectual history of equality on the longue durée and explains why we shouldn’t think of this history as a triumphant march of progress; highlights the tensions between difference and sameness and explores the changing relationship between liberty and equality; and reflects on the globalization of our concern with equality – and our human ambivalence towards this resilient idea.
Darrin M. McMahon is a historian, author, and public speaker who acts as the Mary Brinsmead Wheelock Professor of History at Dartmouth College. He is the author of three previous books respectively titled Enemies of the Enlightenment: The French Counter-Enlightenment and the Making of Modernity (2001); Happiness: A History (2006); and Divine Fury: A History of Genius (2013). He is also the editor or co-editor of the volumes Rethinking Modern European Intellectual History (2013); Genealogies of Genius (2017); and History and Human Flourishing (2022).
Equality: The History of an Elusive Idea is published by Basic Books.
In collaboration with Lucie Hunter