In a provocative analysis of European and American historical thinking and practice since the early 18th century, A History of History confronts several basic assumptions about the nature of history. Among these are the concept of historical realism, the belief in representationalism and the idea that the past possesses its own narrative. What is offered in this book is a far-reaching and fundamental rethinking of realist and representationalist ‘history of a particular kind’ by addressing and explaining the ideas of major philosophers of history over the past three hundred years and those of the key theorists of today. In pursuing this radical analysis, the understanding of history as a narrative is evaluated along with contemporary notions such as the continuing presence of the past and the idea of ‘its lessons’. Written by one of the leading thinkers on the subject, A History of History provides an accessible and radical history of history while offering new insights into the pressing questions of the nature, purpose and function of history. This book is an essential text for all students, teachers and consumers of history.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Part 1. 1 The Emergence of Modern Historical Thinking. 2 History as Science. 3 Forms of History Today. Part 2. 4 History of a Particular Kind and the Rise of the Multi-Sceptic Historian. 5 Refiguring the Past. 6 An Improper Contempt for Proper History. Part 3. 7 The Presence of the Past. 8 The End of (a) Historical Consciousness (of a Particular Kind). Conclusion.
Alun Munslow is the founding and UK editor of Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice. His recent publications include Narrative and History (2007) and The Future of History (2010).
"A brilliant yet accessible work on contemporary historical theory which does two things no book has previously attempted: first, at the level of the individual, the work shows how the mystifications of academia allow historians to ignore the fictive nature of their enterprise; and, second, the book turns its theoretical stance back upon itself, encouraging readers to deconstruct its arguments as a prelude to desconstructing those of traditional works. This makes it an essential read for anyone interested in current historical theory and practice." - Robert A Rosenstone, California Institute of Technology, USA
"Against a lightly sketched-out but analytically sharp historiological and theoretical back-drop, Alun Munslow continues his by now well-known attempt to drag mainstream academic historians into the post-epistemological present and future where new historyings of as yet unimagined types might be created for the very best of empowering reasons.... a vital read." - Keith Jenkins, University of Chichester, UK