In recent times there has been recognition of the growing influence of cultural theory on historical writing. Foucault, Bourdieu, Butler and Spivak are just some of the thinkers whose ideas have been taken up and deployed by historians.
What are these ideas and where do they come from? How have cultural theorists thought about 'history'? And how have historians applied theoretical insights to enhance their own understanding of events in the past?
This book provides a wide-ranging and authoritative guide to the often vexed and controversial relationship between history and contemporary theory. It analyses the concepts that concern both theorists and historians, such as power, identity, modernity and postcolonialism, and offers a critical evaluation of them from an historical standpoint.
Written in an accessible manner, History and Cultural Theory gives historians and students an invaluable summary of the impact of cultural theory on historiography over the last twenty years, and indicates the likely directions of the subject in the future.
Table of Contents
1 Historicising Theory. 2 Narrative. 3 Culture. 4 Power. 5 Modernity. 6 Identity. 7 Postcolonialism. 8 Theorising History.
Simon Gunn is Reader in History in the School of Cultural Studies at Leeds Metropolitan University. He is the author of The Public Culture of the Victorian Middle Class and was historical adviser to the highly praised BBC2 series, Middle Classes, from which he also co-authored the book, published by Cassell, 2002. He has taught at undergraduate and postgraduate levels on the relationship between history and cultural theory, and has published articles on the ideas of theorists including Walter Benjamin, Pierre Bourdieu and Michel Foucault.
"This is an outstanding work of elucidation and criticism, written with rare lucidity. It will be invaluable to both students and seasoned researchers".
John Tosh, Roehampton University, USA
"...a well-informed, lucid and balanced survey of the field."
Peter Burke, University of Cambridge, UK
"Consistently intelligent and thoughtful, this book provides an accessible guide to the theoretical forms that proved most generative of historical scholarship and historiographical debate in Britain over the last four decades."
James Vernon, University of California, Berkeley, USA