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Anna Green and Kathleen Troup

Marxist theory has generated a very large body of historical writing around the globe, and includes a wide range of subjects, from world history and the struggles for independence by colonized nations, to the world of work, labour relations, working class organizations and communities, and the poor. This chapter will outline the materialist conception of history, commonly known as historical materialism, first developed by Karl Marx (1818–83). It will then focus upon three important dimensions of historical materialism in the work of Marxist historians: the

in The houses of history
The English Revolution debate of 1940–41
Sina Talachian

how to be a historian Chapter 8 The emergence of the English Marxist historian’s scholarly persona: the English Revolution debate of 1940–41 Sina Talachian Introduction Otto Sibum and Lorraine Daston define a persona as ‘a cultural identity that simultaneously shapes the individual in body and mind and creates a collective with a shared and recognizable physiognomy... creatures of historical circumstance; they emerge and disappear within specific contexts’.1 The Marxist historian is one such persona or social species which emerged within specific contexts

in How to be a historian
A critical reader in history and theory, second edition
Authors: Anna Green and Kathleen Troup

Every piece of historical writing has a theoretical basis on which evidence is selected, filtered, and understood. This book explores the theoretical perspectives and debates that are generally acknowledged to have been the most influential within the university-led practice of history over the past century and a half. It advises readers to bear in mind the following four interlinked themes: context, temporal framework, causation or drivers of change, and subjectivities. The book outlines the principles of empiricism, the founding epistemology of the professional discipline, and explores the ways in which historians have challenged and modified this theory of knowledge over the past century and a half. It then focuses upon three important dimensions of historical materialism in the work of Marxist historians: the dialectical model at the basis of Marx's grand narrative of human history; the adaptations of Marxist theory in Latin America; and the enduring question of class consciousness. The use of psychoanalysis in history, the works of Annales historians and historical sociology is discussed next. The book also examines the influence of two specific approaches that were to be fertile ground for historians: everyday life and symbolic anthropology, and ethnohistory. The roles of narrative, gender history, radical feminism, poststructuralism and postcolonial history are also discussed. Finally, the book outlines the understandings about the nature of memory and remembering, and looks at key developments in the analysis and interpretation of oral histories and oral traditions.

Roger Spalding and Christopher Parker

on cultural history, as an exploration of beliefs and values, rather than what might be better described as the history of culture. Having made the distinction, though, it has to be acknowledged that beliefs are often embodied in works of art of whatever kind. In Britain, this approach was pioneered by the Marxist historians associated with the Communist Party Historians’ Group and their work will form the central focus of this chapter. It will, however, also consider the earlier approaches to cultural history, as influences on the Group, and the development of

in Historiography
Phillipp R. Schofield

examine the most important alternative discussions of medieval rural society and economy (models of change based upon class struggle, population and a social structural view of village society and economy) in each of which the importance of the market, as we will see, was reduced in favour of other explanations for either long-term change or social organisation and dealing. Marxists and the peasant economy Marxist historians writing either side of the Second World War argued for a peasant economy that was, in its

in Peasants and historians
Editor: Herman Paul

What makes a good historian? When historians raise this question, as they have done for centuries, they often do so to highlight that certain personal attitudes or dispositions are indispensable for studying the past. Yet their views on what virtues, skills or competencies historians need most differ remarkably, as do their models of how to be a historian (‘scholarly personae’). This volume explores why scholarly personae were, and are, so important to historians as to generate lots of debate. Why do historians seldom agree on the marks of a good historian? What impact do these disagreements have on historical research, teaching and outreach? And what does this tell about the unity, or disunity, of the field called historical studies? In addressing these questions, How to be a historian develops a fascinating new perspective on the history of historiography. It challenges conventional narratives of professionalization by demonstrating that the identity of the ‘professional’ was often contested. At the same time, it shows that personae could be remarkably stable, especially in relation to race, class and gender assumptions. With chapters by Monika Baár, Ian Hunter, Q. Edward Wang and other recognized specialists, How to be a historian covers historical studies across Europe, North America, Africa and East Asia, throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in liberal democracies and authoritarian regimes alike. The volume will appeal not only to readers of historiography, but to all historians who occasionally wonder: what kind of a historian do I want to be?

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An introduction

History in the historiographical sense is made by us, not by people in the past, nor by the record of their actions. This book facilitates the critical reading of works of history. It looks at the historical profession, its predilections and traditions. The Whig interpretation of history has been chosen 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 book acts as a guide to reading historiographical texts, looking at the relationship between 'facts' and 'theories', and at 'meta-narrative' and causation. The book examines the issues of planning and structuring in the process of writing an essay. It offers a guide to the writing of academic history at undergraduate level and to the skills involved, and contrasts this with the non-academic uses of history. The book talks about some gender historians who viewed gender identities as expressions of social change within a wider society. It explores the unique fascination that the Nazis has exercised on both academic and popular historiography, along with the allied study of the Holocaust. The book also explores the works of Marxist historians associated with the Communist Party Historians' Group and considers the earlier approaches to cultural history, as influences on the Group, and the development of newer theoretical positions that developed both out of and in opposition to Marxism. The developments in British historiography are discussed.

Prisoners of the past
Author: Richard Jobson

This book examines the impact that nostalgia has had on the Labour Party’s political development since 1951. In contrast to existing studies that have emphasised the role played by modernity, it argues that nostalgia has defined Labour’s identity and determined the party’s trajectory over time. It outlines how Labour, at both an elite and a grassroots level, has been and remains heavily influenced by a nostalgic commitment to an era of heroic male industrial working-class struggle. This commitment has hindered policy discussion, determined the form that the modernisation process has taken and shaped internal conflict and cohesion. More broadly, Labour’s emotional attachment to the past has made it difficult for the party to adjust to the socioeconomic changes that have taken place in Britain. In short, nostalgia has frequently left the party out of touch with the modern world. In this way, this book offers an assessment of Labour’s failures to adapt to the changing nature and demands of post-war Britain.

Ashley Lavelle

. Defeated radicals often conclude either that they had fought for the impossible, that what they achieved turned out to be even worse than what they had fought against, or that they had been sorely mistaken in desiring radical change in the first place; a retreat from political activism can often be the end result (Hirschman, 1982: 93). In The Experience of Defeat, the Marxist historian Christopher Hill (1984) wrote of the English Revolution’s defeat in 1660 and its demoralising impact on radicals, many of whom – their spirits broken – subsequently surrendered to the

in The politics of betrayal
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Paul Blackledge

contrast, John Arnold argues that ‘practically all historians writing today are marxists (with a small m)’.6 Perhaps, on Arnold’s account, Marwick is one of the few remaining non-marxist historians. Unfortunately, Marwick certainly would not accept this characterisation of his colleagues, for he believes that even Marxist historians are not really Marxists in so far as they write good history: he asserts that it is the journalism of the acclaimed Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm that owes most to his Marxism, while his historical studies escape from the constraints of

in Reflections on the Marxist theory of history