Charisma, a buzzword beloved by sociologists, political scientists, psychologists, self-help gurus, and scholars of celebrity, is in its modern secular usage a concept of very recent origin. Between 1915 and 1922 the German scholar Max Weber introduced it into the vocabulary of the social sciences. Despite the vast literature that scholars have devoted to Weber's concept of charisma, no concerted effort has been made to understand its transatlantic history in the decades after his death. A growing body of recent scholarly work has extended the modern history of concepts into an international and increasingly global framework. The history of Weber's concept of charisma—which was first enthusiastically embraced in the United States between the late 1930s and the mid-1960s—must necessarily be told from such a transnational perspective.

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