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.
This chapter presents some concluding thoughts on the exploration of historical theories. It includes William Sewell's and Joan Wallach Scott's discussions of their intellectual journeys to demonstrate the way in which individual historians, as well as schools of history, develop in their thinking and practice over time. Scott and Sewell contextualize their development, consider what drove the changes in their historical practice, and reveal something of their own historical subjectivities. Global history and world history seem likely to continue to attempt to break through a previously Eurocentric view of the world. Global history authors, considering a longer time span, have included 'natural history' as well as human history. A trend to considering the history of the environment, perhaps triggered by anxieties about climate change, extends the natural history approach. Historians have continued to develop new approaches, so that historiography is continually invigorated.
. The theories and concepts that inform many contemporary analyses and interpretations of historicalsubjectivities are fully explored in later chapters of this book.
The four themes of contextualization, temporal frameworks, causation and drivers of change , and subjectivities will enable you to interrogate the assumptions and perspectives, theories and concepts upon which historians draw to analyse and interpret the past. We have sought to include examples from a wide range of historical contexts, but length and language requirements for an introductory text
struggle is marked by two defining features. First, the colonized
have to reaffirm their historicalsubjectivity; second, and more important,
they have to adopt modern and revolutionary principles.43 The necessity
of the struggle is engendered by the desire to espouse modern values
without being colonized, assimilated and hegemonized. Fanon’s struggle
is obviously determined by the exigencies of a brand of nationalism
that is open to embrace the values of other progressive cultures. In his
The necessity of being reborn generates in the Algerian
Gender (and) politics in Colombian women’s documentary
postmodern: the film’s reflexivity and blurring of fictional and
documentary elements create a filmic language which muddies its
seemingly straightforward political waters; the questioning of a unified
subject and the refusal to adhere to a linear form do not allow for an
unproblematic understanding of historicalsubjectivity. The use of
flashback, too, privileges subjective, over objective, truth (Hayward
historicalsubjectivity are given an added, more explicitly textualised,
dimension in Pleasantville . Rather than revisit the 1950s, David
and Jennifer are placed in an idealised representation of the 1950s.
Here, they proceed to challenge, interrogate and deconstruct its
ideological assumptions. In some sense, Pleasantville makes
literal the process of postmodern historicism that Linda Hutcheon
The UPC and France in Cameroonian history and memory
state and non-state actors, who could
be supportive, indifferent or hostile to France’s close ties with Cameroon.
Cameroon’s relationship to France has therefore been continuously open
to shifting alliances and interacting networks of opposition and cooperation,
representing a variety of political objectives that refutes conventional analytical
categories of dependency, collaboration and resistance. The political and historicalsubjectivities that have been articulated around such a relationship have
similarly been open to constant negotiation and appropriation by
, ‘HistoricalSubjectivity’, in Sally Alexander and Barbara Taylor (eds), History and Psyche: Culture, Psychoanalysis, and the Past (New York, 2012), p. 199. See her critical analysis of historical empathy.
4 For a wide-ranging approach, see Cristian Tileagă and Jovan Byford (eds), Psychology and History: Interdisciplinary Explorations (Cambridge, 2014).
5 W. Langer, ‘The Next Assignment’, American Historical Review 63 (1958), p. 284.
6 Peter Burke, ‘Afterword’, in Alexander and Taylor, History and Psyche , pp. 325–32; Bruce Mazlish, ‘The Past and Future of
inextricable Gothic aspects. 15 Woman is, once again, posited as a site or space
against the historicalsubjectivity of the male Gothic agent.
Nevertheless, Charles Bernheimer proposes, male
artists’ relation to the figure of the prostitute in
nineteenth-century France was extremely complex, involving ‘both
identification and repulsion. As an emblem for their own artistic
Revolution (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), p. 4.
117 Shapin, The Scientific Revolution , p. 4.
118 R. Boyle, The Christian Virtuoso (London, 1690), t. p.
119 See C. Weiss Smith, Empiricist Devotions: Science, Religion, and Poetry in Early Eighteenth-Century England (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2016).
120 G. K. Paster, K. Rowe, and M. Floyd-Wilson (eds) situate the ‘Cartesian divide’ in historicalsubjectivity ‘about 1660’, Reading the Early Modern