Academic history
in Historiography
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Academic history, in the sense of being based in academic institutions such as universities, is a fairly recent phenomenon. Before the nineteenth century, history was not taught as a separate subject for undergraduates. This chapter looks at the historical profession, its predilections and traditions. It examines the Whig interpretation of history to illustrate the relationship between historiography and a prevalent culture because of its central role in the period when the historical profession began to establish itself in England and because of its continuing popular and political influence. The critique that demolished the Whig influence in academic circles is discussed to illustrate the supposedly professional objectivity that displaced it and which was subsequently challenged by more relativist approaches. The chapter concludes with an appreciation of the most recent debates between so-called traditionalist and various postmodern positions.


An introduction


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