The book discusses issues of both empiricist and deconstruction positions and considers the arguments of major proponents of both stances, and includes:
Deconstructing History maps the philosophical field, outlines the controversies involved and assesses the merits of the deconstructionist position. He argues that instead of beginning with the past history begin with its representation by historians.
In Past Futures, Ged Martin advocates examining the decisions that people take, most of which are not the result of a 'process,' but are reached intuitively. Subsequent rationalizations that constitute historical evidence simply mislead. All historians can do is to locate them in time, to explain not why a decision was taken, but why then? To illustrate, Martin asks a number of questions: What is a 'long time' in history? Are we close to the past or remote from it? Is democracy a recent experiment, or proof of our arrival at the end of a journey through time? Can we engage in a historical dialogue with the past without making clear our own ethical standpoints? Although explanation is ultimately impossible, humankind can make sense of its location in time through the concept of 'significance,' a device for highlighting events and aspects of the past. In so doing, Martin suggests a radical new approach to historical discourse.
By illustrating the ways in which history enforces socially coercive attitudes and forms of behaviour, Martin Davies argues that history is therefore in itself ideological and exists as an instrument of political power. Contending that this ideological function is the "normal" function of professional academic history, he repudiates entirely the conventional view that only biased or "bad" history is ideological. By finding history projecting onto the world and getting reflected back at it the exacting, history-focused thinking and behaviour on which the discipline and the subject rely, he concludes that history’s very "normality" and "objectivity" are inherently compromised and that history works only in terms of its own self-interest.
Challenging the authority and constraints of academic history over the past, this book explores various forms of past-talk, including art, films, activism, memory, nostalgia and archives. Across seven clear chapters, Claire Norton and Mark Donnelly show how activists and campaigners have used forms of past-talk to unsettle ‘common sense’ thinking about political and social problems, how journalists, artists, curators, filmmakers and performers have referenced the past in their practices of advocacy, and how grassroots archivists help to circulate materials that challenge the power of authorised institutional archives to determine what gets to count as a demonstrable feature of the past and whose voices are part of the ‘historical record’.
Written in a lucid, accessible manner, and combining insightful critical analysis and philosophical argument with clear consideration of how different forms of past-talk influence the narration of pasts in a variety of socio-political contexts, Liberating Histories is essential reading for students and scholars with an interest in historiography and the ethical and political dimensions of the historical discipline.
History can hardly be neutral or factual because it depends on the historian’s, as well the people’s, perspective as to what kind of events and sources they combine to make history meaningful. Analysing historical analogies – as embedded in narratives and images of the past – enables us to understand how history and collective memory are managed and used for political purposes and to provide social orientation in time and space.
To rethink theories of history, iconology and collective memory, the authors of this volume discuss a variety of cases from Hong Kong, China and Europe.
Histories and Fallacies is a primer for those seeking guidance through conceptual and methodological problems in the discipline of history. Historian Carl Trueman presents a series of classic historical problems as a way to examine what history is, what it means, and how it can be told and understood. Each chapter in Histories and Fallacies gives an account of a particular problem, examines a classic example of that problem, and then suggests a solution or approach that will bear fruit.
Readers who come to understand the question of objectivity through an examination of Holocaust denial or interpretive frameworks through Marxism will not just be learning theory but will already be practicing fruitful approaches to history. Histories and Fallacies guides both readers and writers of history away from dead ends and methodological mistakes, and into a fresh confidence in the productive nature of the historical task.
To support his thesis, White analyzes the complex writing styles of historians like Michelet, Ranke, Tocqueville, and Burckhardt, and philosophers of history such as Marx, Hegel, Nietzsche, and Croce. The first work in the history of historiography to concentrate on historical writing as writing, Metahistory sets out to deprive history of its status as a bedrock of factual truth, to redeem narrative as the substance of historicality, and to identify the extent to which any distinction between history and ideology on the basis of the presumed scientificity of the former is spurious.
This fortieth-anniversary edition includes a new preface in which White explains his motivation for writing Metahistory and discusses how reactions to the book informed his later writing. In a new foreword, Michael S. Roth, a former student of White’s and the current president of Wesleyan University, reflects on the significance of the book across a broad range of fields, including history, literary theory, and philosophy. This book will be of interest to anyone—in any discipline—who takes the past as a serious object of study.