Doing History  book cover
2nd Edition

Doing History

ISBN 9781138301559
Published November 17, 2020 by Routledge
264 Pages

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Book Description

Doing History bridges the gap between the way history is studied in school or as represented in the media and the way it is studied at university level.

History as an academic discipline has dramatically changed in recent decades and has been enhanced by ideas from other disciplines, the influence of postmodernism and historians’ incorporation of their own reflections into their work. 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 ever really know what happened in the past, what sources historians depend on, and the relative value of popular and academic histories. This revised edition includes new chapters on public history and activist histories. It looks at global representations of the past across the centuries, and provides up-to-date suggestions for further reading, presenting the reader with a thorough and current introduction to studying history at an academic level as well as a pathway to progress this study further.

Clearly structured and accessibly written, it is an essential volume for all students embarking on the study of history.

Table of Contents

Part 1: What is History?

1. Introduction

2. Pre-Modern Historians on History

3. Academic History

Part 2: What Historians Do

4. Using Sources  

5. Creating Historical Knowledge

6. Writing Histories. Historical Interpretations and Imagination

Part 3: Whose History?

7. The Power of History

8. Histories from Another Perspective

9. Popular History

Part 4: History Today

10. Public History

11. Liberating History


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Mark Donnelly is Associate Professor at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London, UK. He writes about history theory, public history and collective memory. He co-edited Mad Dogs and Englishness: Popular Music and English Identities (2017). He also co-wrote Liberating Histories (2019) with Claire Norton.

Claire Norton is Associate Professor at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London, UK. She is interested in how past-talk is used to articulate, legitimise ad challenge identities, institutions and political discourses. She has written books on Ottoman manuscript textualities, Islamic-Christian interactions in the early-modern world and history theory.


"Doing History reflects the deep partnership Mark Donnelly and Claire Norton have brokered between history in universities and schools, and in the wider community. This partnership tugs and shapes theory and practice in ways that sparks powerful new ideas and forms of action."

Marnie Hughes-Warrington, University of South Australia, Australia