Historiography and Theory of History

 

 

K. Tilmans; F. van Vree; J. M. Winter, eds. (2010). Performing the Past: Memory, History, and Identity in Modern Europe. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 368 pp.

Throughout Europe, narratives about the past circulate at a dizzying speed, and producing and selling these narratives is big business. In museums, in cinema and opera houses, in schools, and even on the Internet, Europeans are using the power of performance to craft stories that ultimately define the ways their audiences understand and remember history. Performing the Past offers unparalleled insights into the philosophical, literary, musical, and historical frameworks within which the past has entered into the European imagination. The essays in this volume, from such internationally renowned scholars as Reinhart Koselleck, Jan Assmann, Jane Caplan, Marianne Hirsch, Leo Spitzer, Peter Burke, and Alessandro Portelli, investigate various national and disciplinary traditions to explain how Europeans see themselves in the past, in the present, and in the years to come.

 

Pitcher, Luke (2010). Writing Ancient History: An Introduction to Classical Historiography. London: I. B. Tauris, 288 pp.

In his new textbook, Luke Pitcher aims to overcome the hostility which exists between two rival camps in their study of classical historiography. The first camp looks at the classical historians with an eye to what data they can provide about the ancient world. The second camp examines the ancient writers as literary texts in their own right, employing the tools of literary criticism and engaging with such matters as narrative artistry. Attempting to fuse these two -- mutually suspicious -- approaches, Luke Pitcher's attractive introduction offers undergraduate students of classics the first comprehensive introduction to historiography in antiquity on the market. It unites the nitty-gritty of the historian's trade (the finding and managing of data) to an awareness of the importance of style, form, allusion and composition. The book also seeks to do justice to invididual classical historians, and discusses such important figures as Livy, Tacitus, Herodotus, Cicero, Plutarch and Lucian. A comprehensive bibliography and glossary are included.

  White, Hayden (2010). The Fiction of Narrative: Essays on History, Literature, and Theory. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 424 pp.

This volume, deftly introduced by Robert Doran, gathers in one place White's important and often hard-to-find essays exploring his revolutionary theories of historical writing and narrative. These texts find White at his most essayistic, engaging a wide range of topics and thinkers with characteristic insight and elegance.

The Fiction of Narrative traces the arc and evolution of White's field—defining thought and will become standard reading for students and scholars of historiography, the theory of history, and literary studies.

  MacMillan, Margaret (2009). Dangerous Games: The Uses and Abuses of History. London: Vintage Books, 349 pp.
Margaret MacMillan explores here the many ways in which history its values and dangers affects us all, including how it is used and abused. Reveals how a deeper engagement with history in our private lives and, more important, in the sphere of public debate can guide us to a richer, more enlightened existence, as individuals and nations. Alive with incident and figures both great and infamous, including Robespierre, Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, Mao Zedong, Karl Marx, Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and George W. Bush, Dangerous Games explores why it is important to treat history with care. This work will compel us to examine history anew, including our own understanding of it, and our own closely held beliefs.
  Catroga, Fernando (2009): Os passos do homem como restolho do tempo. Memoria e fim do fim da história. Coimbra: Almedina, 309 pp.

This study focuses on the problems of memory, historiography and the grand narratives that, from the mythical consciousness, Christian theology and modern Western theories about the meaning of evolution, have described the origins and ways for historical time. It pursues the differences and similarities between these ways of representing the past. Not forgetting another goal, even more fundamental: to defend that, actually, no one attends the end of history, but the end of conceptions that dictated the end of history. And in the path of Heraclitus and Ernst Bloch, the reader is warning: if you do not expect what you do not wait, you will not find the unexpected.

  Burrow, John (2009). A History of Histories: Epics, Chronicles, and Inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the Twentieth Century. London: Vintage, 544 pp.

History is usually classified as a social science, but Burrow eloquently demonstrates that the writing of history is an art. And since historians engage in an art form, they are required to use rigor, discipline, and, especially, analytical skill. It is that skill that separates Herodotus and Thucydides from earlier Egyptian and Mesopotamian scribes, whom Burrow classifies as record keepers rather than historians. As he examines the historical writings of Livy, Bede, McCaulay, and such twentieth-century historians as Huizinga and Bloch, it is fascinating to see the evolution of various historiographic trends. Some view history as a working out of a divine plan. Others are militant secularists with a contempt for the great man theory of development. What seems to unite all great historians is a sincere, if inevitably biased, effort to find deeper meanings that transcend particular events and help us better understand how individuals function as social actors.

  Evans, Richard J. (2009). Cosmopolitan Islanders: British Historians and the European Continent. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 272 pp.

In Cosmopolitan Islanders one of the world's leading historians asks why it is that so many prominent and influential British historians have devoted themselves to the study of the European continent. Books on the history of France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and many other European countries, and of Europe more generally, have frequently reached the best-seller lists both in Britain and (in translation) in those European countries themselves. Yet the same is emphatically not true in reverse. Richard J. Evans traces the evolution of British interest in the history of Continental Europe from the Enlightenment to the twentieth century. He goes on to discuss why British historians who work on aspects of European history in the present day have chosen to do so and why this distinguished tradition is now under threat. Cosmopolitan Islanders ends with some reflections on what needs to be done to ensure its continuation in the future.

 

Historical Culture

 

  Iker, Olivier (2010). Caravelles: Le siècle d'or des navigateurs portugais. Paris: Bibliotheque Lattès, 457 pp.

The caravels... Cockleshell. Yet it is on board that for a century and a half, while the rest of Europe was torn between the Hundred Years War and wars of religion, the Portuguese sailors, both bold and stubborn, walked along the African coast, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, landed on the Brazilian coast, forced themselves to Calicut on the large global market for spices. They could stop there and go home, made his fortune... Nay! The caravels continued on their way to Japan, China, Macao.

Olivier Ikor has given the word, but also flesh and soul to the actors of the Great Discoveries, whether proscribed or princes, captains or sailors, Christians, Jewish or Muslims, merchands or scientists. Each of these voyages that shook the world reads like a novel, or rather like one thousand and one sketchs of one thousand and one novels.

  Lewis, John David (2010). Nothing Less than Victory: Decisive Wars and Lessons of History. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 368 pp.

Surveying six conflicts, from the Persian invasion of ancient Greece to WWII, historian Lewis contends that lasting peace requires a shattering victory, a display of overwhelming force that expose[s] the physical and ideological bankruptcy of the losers and precipitates an immediate collapse in their will to fight. Lewis's analysis of war as a psychological struggle and clash of moral purposes is lucid and forceful; it's especially telling in his incisive account of Sherman's march through Georgia, and especially provocative in his defense of the atomic bombings of Japan. (To break the Japanese leaders out of their ideological blinders... American leaders needed to kill a lot of Japanese in a visibly shocking way.) He's less cogent when he tries to distill profound moral purposes from the murk of the Second Punic War or Roman emperor Aurelian's squabble with Queen Zenobia of Palmyra. Lewis's tight yoking of military success with moral superiority sometimes veers close to the notion that might makes right.

  Favret, Mary A. (2010). War at a Distance. Romanticism and the Making of Modern Wartime. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 262 pp.

What does it mean to live during wartime away from the battle zone? What is it like for citizens to go about daily routines while their country sends soldiers to kill and be killed across the globe? Timely and thought-provoking, War at a Distance considers how those left on the home front register wars and wartime in their everyday lives, particularly when military conflict remains removed from immediate perception, available only through media forms. Looking back over two centuries, Mary Favret locates the origins of modern wartime in the Napoleonic era and describes how global military operations affected the British populace, as the nation's army and navy waged battles far from home for decades. She reveals that the literature and art produced in Britain during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries obsessively cultivated means for feeling as much as understanding such wars, and established forms still relevant today.

  Carlin, John (2009). Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation. New York & London: Penguin, 288 pp.

After being released from prison and winning South Africa's first free election, Nelson Mandela presided over a country still deeply divided by fifty years of apartheid. His plan was ambitious if not far-fetched: use the national rugby team, the Springboks-long an embodiment of white-supremacist rule-to embody and engage a new South Africa as they prepared to host the 1995 World Cup. The string of wins that followed not only defied the odds, but capped Mandela's miraculous effort to bring South Africans together again in a hard-won, enduring bond.

  Todorov, Tzvetan (2009). In Defense of The Enlightenment. London: Atlantic Books, 179 pp.

Although our liberal democracies are the offspring of the Enlightenment, they also illustrate the ways in which its ideas can be distorted and perverted. People living in these democracies today are often baffled by a host of phenomena which they don't know how to judge: globalisation and media omnipotence, state-sponsored torture and lies, moralism and the right of intervention, the domination of economics and the triumph of technology. Is it possible to distinguish between the Enlightenment's legitimate and illegitimate heirs? We cannot learn lessons from the past unless we know how to relate them to the present. In this brilliant and concise book, internationally renowned historian Tzvetan Todorov shows that what remains relevant to us today of the 18th-century debates is their spirit, as expressed in a number of crucial principles and values.

  Gruzinski, Serge (2006). Les quatre parties du monde. Histoire d'une mondialisation. Paris: Seuil.

Mastering "the four parts of the world": such was the ambition of the 1st Catholic Monarchy (1580-1640). To impose its presence, Spanish and Portuguese learned to lead means unknown, while, from Mexico to Japan, from Brazil to the African coast, from Goa to the Philippines, the people were confronted with forms of presence and power that were totally strangers. Crossing cultures or resistance of local traditions to Iberian domination: the earth goes global. At the dawn of modern times these are not only the life forms, techniques and economy that transform the new leaders of the planet, but also the belief and imagination. Inviting us to a vast journey through the world, Serge Gruzinski shows how the past permits to understand what is at stake after centuries between westernization, hybridity and globalization.

 

 

Index of Books (referenced in English or in Spanish)

 

Achcar, Gilbert (2011). The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israel War of Narratives.

Ankersmit, F.; Domanska, E.; Kellner, H. (2009). Re-Figuring Hayden White.

Ankersmit, Frank (2008). Experiencia histórica sublime.

Antúnez, Jaime (2007). Filosofía de la Historia en Christopher Dawson.

Aung-Thwin, M. A.; Hall, K. R., eds. (2011). New Perspectives on the History and Historiography of Southeast Asia: Continuing Explorations.

Aurell, Jaume (2005). La escritura de la memoria: De los positivismos a los postmodernismos.

Baró, Xavier (2009). La historiografia catalana en el segle del Barroc.

Beevor, Antony (2009). D-Day.

Berger, S.; Lorenz, C. eds. (2008). The Contested Nation: Ethnicity, Class, Religion and Gender in National Histories.

Burke, Peter (2009). What is Cultural History?

Burrow, John (2009). A History of Histories: Epics, Chronicles, and Inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the Twentieth Century.

Carlin, John (2009). Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation.

Catroga, Fernando (2009): Os passos do homem como restolho do tempo. Memoria e fim do fim da história.

Cercas, Javier (2010). Anatomía de un instante.

Ciarlo, David (2011). Advertising Empire: Race and Visual Culture in Imperial Germany.

De Baets, Antoon (2008). Responsible History.

Dumont, Jean (2009). Juicio a la Inquisición española.

Evans, Richard J. (2009). Cosmopolitan Islanders: British Historians and the European Continent.

Figes, Orlando (2008). The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia.

Favret, Mary A. (2010). War at a Distance. Romanticism and the Making of Modern Wartime.

Gorman, Jonathan (2008). Historical Judgement: The Limits of Historiographical Choice.

Grever, Maria; Stuurman, Siep eds. (2007). Beyond the Canon: History for the 21st Century.

Gruzinski, Serge (2006). Les quatre parties du monde. Histoire d'une mondialisation.

Hugues-Warrington, Marnie (2006). History Goes to the Movies: Studying History on Film.

Iggers, Wilma and George (2006). Two Lives in Uncertain Times: Facing the Challenges of the 20th Century as Scholar and Citizens.

Iggers, Georg; Wang, Edward, Q.; Mukherjee, Supriya (2008). A Global History of Modern Historiography.

Iker, Olivier (2010). Caravelles: Le siècle d'or des navigateurs portugais.

Jerome de Groot (2008). Consuming History: Historians and Heritage in Contemporary Popular Culture.

Johnson, Paul (2008). Heroes: From Alexander the Great to Churchill and de Gaulle.

K. Tilmans; F. van Vree; J. M. Winter, eds. (2010). Performing the Past: Memory, History, and Identity in Modern Europe.

Kagan, Richard L. (2009). Clio and the Crown: The Politics of History in Medieval and Early Modern Spain.

Lewis, John David (2010). Nothing Less than Victory: Decisive Wars and Lessons of History.

MacMillan, Margaret (2009). Dangerous Games: The Uses and Abuses of History.

Magelssen, S.; Justice-Malloy, T., eds. (2011). Enacting History.

Morgan, I. W, ed. (2011). Presidents in the Movies: American History and Politics on Screen.

Palacios, Guillermo, coord. (2009). La nación y su historia. Independencias, relato historiográfico y debates sobre la nación: América Latina, siglo XIX.

Pitcher, Luke (2010). Writing Ancient History: An Introduction to Classical Historiography.

Poirrier, Philippe, dir. (2008). L'histoire culturelle: un "tournant mondial" dans l'historiographie.

Porciari, I.; Raphael, L., eds. (2011). Atlas of European Historiography: The Making of a Profession, 1800-2005.

Ranke, L. von (2011). The Theory and Practice of History (Edited with an introduction by Georg G. Iggers.

Reale, Giovanni (2005). Raíces culturales y espirituales de Europa.

Ruiz-Domènec, José Enrique (2006). El reto del historiador.

Seixas, Peter ed. (2004). Theorizing Historical Consciousness.

Smyth, J. E. (2006). Reconstructing American Historical Cinema: From Cimarron to Citizen Kane.

Thornton Burnett, M.; Streete, A., eds. (2011). Filming and Performing Renaissance History.

Todorov, Tzvetan (2009). In Defense of The Enlightenment.

Todorov, Tzvetan (2008). Los abusos de la memoria.

White, Hayden (2010). The Fiction of Narrative: Essays on History, Literature, and Theory.

Woolf, Daniel (2011). A Global History of History.

Vázquez de Prada, Mercedes (2008). Historia de la familia contemporánea. Principales cambios en los siglos XIX y XX.