The SAGE Handbook of Historical Theory by Nancy Partner, Sarah R I Foot

By Nancy Partner, Sarah R I Foot

The editors introduce the middle components of present debate inside of ancient concept, bringing the reader as brand new with carrying on with debates and present advancements as is feasible. this crucial instruction manual brings jointly in a single quantity discussions of the function of modernity, empiricism, realism, post-modernity and deconstruction within the historian’s craft. Chapters are written through best writers from world wide and canopy a large unfold of historic sub-disciplines, akin to social heritage, highbrow historical past, narrative, gender, reminiscence, psycho-analysis and cultural reviews, taking in, alongside the way in which, the paintings of thinkers resembling Paul Ricouer, Michel Foucault and Hayden White.

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A. Beard, ‘Written history as an act of faith’, AHR, 39 (1934), 219–31. Beard’s more celebrated address called ‘That Noble Dream’ forms the platform for Peter Novick’s compelling account of American historians in ‘That Noble Dream’: The ‘Objectivity’ Question and the American Historical Profession (Cambridge, 1988). 09/11/2012 10:48:50 AM 2 The Implications of Empiricism for History Lutz Raphael In the world of Anglo-American historians, empiricism has become a current concept that defines one side in the ongoing controversy between those historians who defend their discipline as based on common sense assumptions about facts and historical truth and those that espouse postmodern theories that emphasise the literary qualities of history and criticise the scientific self-understanding of professional historians.

15 The pragmatic argument had become one of the pillars of empiricist convictions. Thus empiricism encouraged critical inquiries about the past 09/11/2012 10:49:35 AM 28 THE SAGE HANDBOOK OF HISTORICAL THEORY that went beyond the small-scale microscopic and specialised erudition of antiquarians and it legitimated the scholarly work of those gentleman historians who were the pioneers of the new historiography of the enlightenment. Until the end of the eighteenth century, ‘Science’ or ‘Wissenschaft’ was not analysed within the terms of this new epistemology that referred to human knowledge in general.

The quarrel over method, for it exceeded debate or argument, permeated all aspects of German intellectual life and in retrospect it focused many of the strands of discussion about the future of history that every country of the West had been facing, each in its own way. Because other cultures had their own story to tell about the nature of historical enquiry, there is some justification for seeing the Methodenstreit as simply a German manifestation of a more general theoretical malaise among those concerned about the future of the humanities in the 1890s.

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