Doing History (Paperback) book cover

Doing History

By Mark Donnelly, Claire Norton

© 2011 – Routledge

242 pages

This product is not available in your shipping region
FREE Standard Shipping!


History as an academic discipline has dramatically changed over the last few decades and has become much more exciting and varied as a result of ideas from other disciplines, the influence of postmodernism and historians' incorporation of their own theoretical reflections into their work. The way history is studied at university level can vary greatly from history at school or as represented in the media and Doing History bridges that gap. Aimed at undergraduate and postgraduate students of history this is the ideal introduction to studying history as an academic subject at university.

Doing History presents the ideas and debates that shape how we do history today, covering arguments about the nature of historical knowledge and the function of historical writing, whether we can really ever know what happened in the past, what sources historians depend on, and whether historians’ versions of history have more value than popular histories.

This practical and accessible introduction to the discipline introduces students to these key discussions, familiarises them with the important terms and issues, equips them with the necessary vocabulary and encourages them to think about, and engage with, these questions. Clearly structured and accessibly written, it is an essential volume for all students embarking on the study of history.


'…what we are offered here is an introduction to still relevant issues for students who, we must remember, are replenished perennially, in all their refreshing historiographical naivety … the authors have succeeded in producing a worthwhile introduction to ‘doing history’ for the 21st century; and it is to be hoped that their book will replace some of those long outdated texts on historiography that reappear so depressingly in bookshops at the beginning of each academic year, presumably at the behest of tutors who are pleased to ignore more recent thinking on their subject … Theory and practice come together here at last, and students reading the book will be exposed to exciting new possibilities.' - Beverley Southgate, University of Hertfordshire, UK

Table of Contents

Doing History – Table of Contents



Part I – What is History?

1. Introduction

2. Changing Approaches to History

Part II – What do Historians do?

3. Creating Historical Knowledge

4. Using Sources

5. How do Historians Write History? Historical interpretations and imagination

6. History and the Past. History as a special type of knowledge

Part III – Whose History?

7. The Power of History

8. Histories from Another Perspective

9. Popular History

Part IV – History Today

10. The Future of History




About the Authors

Mark Donnelly is a lecturer in history at St Mary’s University College. His research interests include contemporary culture, politics, memory and historiography. He is the author of Britain in the Second World War (1999) and Sixties Britain: Culture, Society and Politics (2005). His article on Peter Whitehead's film Wholly Communion will be published in the US journal Framework in 2011.

Claire Norton is a lecturer in Islamic history at St Mary’s University College. Her research interests include Muslim-Christian interactions, conversion practices, Ottoman representations of war, identity construction and Ottoman literacy practices. She edited Nationalism, Historiography and the (Re)Construction of the Past (Washington: New Academia Press, 2007)

About the Series

Doing... Series

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Study Skills
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Study & Teaching