1st Edition

History as Wonder Beginning with Historiography

By Marnie Hughes-Warrington Copyright 2019
    234 Pages
    by Routledge

    234 Pages
    by Routledge

    History and Wonder is a refreshing new take on the idea of history that tracks the entanglement of history and philosophy over time through the key idea of wonder.

    From Ancient Greek histories and wonder works, to Islamic curiosities and Chinese strange histories, through to European historical cabinets of curiosity and on to histories that grapple with the horrors of the Holocaust, Marnie Hughes-Warrington unpacks the ways in which historians throughout the ages have tried to make sense of the world, and to change it. This book considers histories and historians across time and space, including the Ancient Greek historian Polybius, the medieval texts by historians such as Bede in England and Ibn Khaldun in Islamic Historiography, and the more recent works by Martin Heidegger, Luce Irigaray and Ranajit Guha among others. It explores the different ways in which historians have called upon wonder to cross boundaries between the past and the present, the universal and the particular, the old and the new, and the ordinary and the extraordinary. Promising to both delight and unsettle, it shows how wonder works as the beginning of historiography.

    Accessible, engaging and wide-ranging, History as Wonder provides an original addition to the field of historiography that is ideal for those both new to and familiar with the study of history.

    Acknowledgements Introduction: Beginning with History as Wonder 1. Sense and Non-sense in Ancient Greek Histories 2.Wonderful and Curious Histories in Pre-Modern Europe 3. The Wonders of History in the Pre-Modern Islamic World 4. Wonder Against Ritual: Strange Chinese Histories 5. Historical Cabinets of Curiosity in Early Modern Europe 6. Spirited Histories in Modern Europe 7. Seeing the Wonder Trick in Histories of the Moving Image 8. History’s Others, History’s Ethics: Gendering Wonder 9. Renewing Wonder in Postcolonial Histories 10. The Banality of History Conclusion: I Wonder as I Wander Bibliography Index


    Marnie Hughes-Warrington is a professor of history at the Australian National University. She is the author of several historiography books, including Fifty Key Thinkers on History (three editions), History Goes to the Movies (2007) and Revisionist Histories (2013).

    'This is a timely and fascinating interdisciplinary analysis of the global development of historiography and its intersections with the role that wonder plays in processes of knowledge production.'

    Claire Norton, St Mary's University, UK

    'What is it that draws all peoples and cultures no matter time or place to history? And what is it that makes history such a powerful and indispensable category? In her capacious, original, and beautifully written book Marnie Hughes-Warrington argues that it is wonder. Using wonder as her analytic lens, Hughes-Warrington crafts a history of history unlike any before it weaving analysis of traditional historical texts, philosophical treaties, and other works such as film and literature that fall beyond the range typically covered in surveys of the historical discipline. In this way, Hughes-Warrington offers a history of history that ranges far beyond the quotidian limits of what might be considered  conventional history and into the way history is utilized by different cultures in different places and different times. For Hughes-Warrington, wonder is the beginning of history, it is a disposition exercised by people in different times and places and as such it is a constant shared by all historical traditions no matter how diverse or disparate they may appear. What’s more Hughes-Warrington tells us that attunement to the wonder that underpins our historical impulse also makes us open to new and different forms of history that have yet to appear. One thing is certain, once you’ve read Marnie Hughes-Warrington’s book you will see the history of history in a whole new way: as a history filled with wonder.'

    Ethan Kleinberg, Wesleyan University, USA