Historiography and Theory of History

 

 

Wu, H. (2018). An Historical Sketch of Chinese Historiography. Springer, 503 pp.

This book systematically traces the development of Chinese historiography from the 2nd century B.C. to the 19th century A.D. Refusing to fit the Chinese historical narration into the modern Western discourse, the author highlights the significant questions that concern traditional historians, their philosophical foundations, their development over three thousand years and their influence on the intelligentsia. China is a country defined in terms of its history and its historians have worked hard to record the past. However, this book approaches Chinese history from the very beginning not only as a way of recording, but also as a way of dealing with the past in order to orient the people of the present in the temporal dimension of their lives. This book was listed as the key book of the “Eleventh Five-year Plan” for college students in China.

 

Aung-Thwin, M. A., and Hall, K. R., eds. (2017). New Perspectives on the History and Historiography of Southeast Asia: Continuing Explorations. Routledge, 304 pp.

Using a unique "old–new" treatment, this book presents new perspectives on several important topics in Southeast Asian history and historiography. Based on original, primary research, it reinterprets and revises several long-held conventional views in the field, covering the period from the "classical" age to the twentieth century. Chapters share the approach to Southeast Asian history and historiography: namely, giving "agency" to Southeast Asia in all research, analysis, writing, and interpretation. In addition to providing new information and insights on the field of Southeast Asia, this book stimulates new debate on conventional ideas, evidence, and approaches to its teaching, research, and understanding. It addresses, and in many cases, revises specific, critically important topics in Southeast Asian history on which much conventional knowledge of Southeast Asia has long been based.

 

Carrard, P. (2017). History as a Kind of Writing: Textual Strategies in Contemporary French Historiography. University of Chicago Press, 264 pp.

In academia, the traditional role of the humanities is being questioned by the “posts”—postmodernism, poststructuralism, and postfeminism—which means that the project of writing history only grows more complex. Philippe Carrard speaks to this complexity by focusing the lens on the current state of French historiography. Carrard’s work here is expansive—examining the conventions historians draw on to produce their texts and casting light on views put forward by literary theorists, theorists of history, and historians themselves. Ranging from discussions of lengthy dissertations on 1960s social and economic history to a more contemporary focus on events, actors, memory, and culture, the book digs deep into the how of history. How do historians arrange their data into narratives? What strategies do they employ to justify the validity of their descriptions? Are actors given their own voice? Along the way, Carrard also readdresses questions fundamental to the field, including its necessary membership in the narrative genre, the presumed objectivity of historiographic writing, and the place of history as a science, distinct from the natural and theoretical sciences.

 

Savran, S. (2017). Arabs and Iranians in the Islamic Conquest Narrative: Memory and Identity Construction in Islamic Historiography, 750–1050. Routledge, 258 pp.

Arabs and Iranians in the Islamic Conquest Narrative analyzes how early Muslim historians merged the pre-Islamic histories of the Arab and Iranian peoples into a didactic narrative culminating with the Arab conquest of Iran. This book provides an in-depth examination of Islamic historical accounts of the encounters between representatives of these two peoples that took place in the centuries prior to the coming of Islam. By doing this, it uncovers anachronistic projections of dynamic identity and political discourses within the contemporaneous Islamic world. It shows how the formulaic placement of such embellishment within the context of the narrative served to justify the Arabs’ rise to power, whilst also explaining the fall of the Iranian Sasanian empire. The objective of this book is not simply to mine Islamic historical chronicles for the factual data they contain about the pre-Islamic period, but rather to understand how the authors of these works thought about this era. By investigating the intersection between early Islamic memory, identity construction, and power discourses.

 

Tenorio-Trillo, M. (2017). Latin America. The Allure and Power of an Idea. University of Chicago Press, 240 pp.

“Latin America” is a concept firmly entrenched in its philosophical, moral, and historical meanings. And yet, Mauricio Tenorio-Trillo argues in this landmark book, it is an obsolescent racial-cultural idea that ought to have vanished long ago with the banishment of racial theory.

Tenorio-Trillo builds the book on three interlocking steps: first, an intellectual history of the concept of Latin America in its natural historical habitat—mid-nineteenth-century redefinitions of empire and the cultural, political, and economic intellectualism; second, a serious and uncompromising critique of the current “Latin Americanism”—which circulates in United States–based humanities and social sciences; and, third, accepting that we might actually be stuck with “Latin America,” Tenorio-Trillo charts a path forward for the writing and teaching of Latin American history.
 

Jarausch, K., Osternmann, F., and Etges, A., eds. (2017). The Cold War: Historiography, Memory, Representation. De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 309 pp.

The traces of the Cold War are still visible in many places all around the world. It is the topic of exhibits and new museums, of memorial days and historic sites, of documentaries and movies, of arts and culture. There are historical and political controversies, both nationally and internationally, about how the history of the Cold War should be told and taught, how it should be represented and remembered. While much has been written about the political history of the Cold War, the analysis of its memory and representation is just beginning. Bringing together a wide range of scholars, this volume describes and analyzes the cultural history and representation of the Cold War from an international perspective. That innovative approach focuses on master narratives of the Cold War, places of memory, public and private memorialization, popular culture, and schoolbooks. Due to its unique status as a center of Cold War confrontation and competition, Cold War memory in Berlin receives a special emphasis.

 

Urquízar-Herrera, A. (2017). Admiration and Awe: Morisco Buildings and Identity Negotiations in Early Modern Spanish Historiography. Oxford University Press, 304 pp.

This book offers the first systematic analysis of the cultural and religious appropriation of Andalusian architecture by Spanish historians during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. To date this process of Christian appropriation has generally been discussed as a phenomenon of architectural hybridization. However, this was a period in which the construction of a Spanish national identity became a key focus of historical discourse. As a result, cultural hybridity encountered partial opposition from those seeking to establish cultural and religious homogeneity. Spain's Islamic past became a major concern in this period and historical writing served as the site for a complex negotiation of identity. Historians and antiquarians used a range of strategies to re-appropriate the meaning of medieval Islamic heritage as befitted the new identity of Spain as a Catholic monarchy and empire.

 

 

Historical Culture

 

 

Sánchez-Costa, E. (2018). The Catholic Revival in Modern European Literature (1890-1945). Peter Lang, 338 pp.

From 1890 to 1945, Europe was shaken by political, social, and cultural revolutions brought about by the crisis of modernity. It was a time when all kinds of alternative and radical models of modernity were erected in pursuit of a new world: from the exasperation of communist and fascist totalitarianism to the frenzy of the artistic avant-gardes and biopolitics. Hungry for transcendence and tormented by hope, this passionate age also gave rise in Europe to a Catholic revival in literature. Many writers found that Catholicism was the key to coping with the enigmas and paradoxes of modern man. At the same time, by injecting the political and artistic principles of modernity into the Christian tradition, they transformed a reactionary Catholicism into the paradigm of ultramodernity. This book explores the intellectual history of a European cultural phenomenon that has thus far been left out of most works of criticism, despite its magnitude. Moreover, it does so through vibrant prose that makes this work of research read like a novel

 

Carretero, M., Berger, S., and Grever, M. eds. (2017). Palgrave Handbook of Research in Historical Culture and Education. Palgrave, 856 pp.

This volume comprises a broad interdisciplinary examination of the many different approaches by which contemporary scholars record our history. The editors provide a comprehensive overview through thirty-eight chapters divided into four parts: a) Historical Culture and Public Uses of History; b) The Appeal of the Nation in History Education of Postcolonial Societies; c) Reflections on History Learning and Teaching; d) Educational Resources: Curricula, Textbooks and New Media. This unique text integrates contributions of researchers from history, education, collective memory, museum studies, heritage, social and cognitive psychology, and other social sciences, stimulating an interdisciplinary dialogue. Contributors come from various countries of Northern and Southern America, Europe and Asia, providing an international perspective that does justice to the complexity of this field of study. This book provides state-of-the-art research, focussing on how citizens and societies make sense of the past through different ways of representing it.

 

Gessen, M. (2017). The Future is History. How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia. Riverhead Books, 528 pp.

Award-winning journalist Masha Gessen's understanding of the events and forces that have wracked Russia in recent times is unparalleled. In The Future Is History, Gessen follows the lives of four people born at what promised to be the dawn of democracy. Each of them came of age with unprecedented expectations, some as the children and grandchildren of the very architects of the new Russia, each with newfound aspirations of their own—as entrepreneurs, activists, thinkers, and writers, sexual and social beings. Gessen charts their paths against the machinations of the regime that would crush them all, and against the war it waged on understanding itself, which ensured the unobstructed reemergence of the old Soviet order in the form of today's terrifying and seemingly unstoppable mafia state. Powerful and urgent, this book is a cautionary tale for our time and for all time.

 

Davies, N. (2017). Beneath Another Sky. A Global Journey into History and Memory. Penguin Books, 768 pp.

Beneath Another Sky is Norman Davies´s account of a global circumnavigation, of the places he visited and the history he found there, from Abu Dhabi to Singapore, the settlement of Tasmania to the short-lived Republic of Texas. Is partly a historian's travelogue, partly a highly engaging exploration of events and personalities that have fashioned today's world. Davies´s historical gaze penetrates behind the present to see how things became as they are, and how peoples came to tell themselves the stories which make up their identities. Everywhere, it seems, human beings have been travelling—pushing out others or arriving in terra nullius—since the beginning of recorded time. To whom is a land truly native? As always, Norman Davies has his eye on the historical horizon as well as on what is close at hand, and brilliantly complicates our view of the past.

  Finchelstein, F. (2017). From Fascism to Populism in History. University of California Press, 352 pp.

What is fascism and what is populism? What are their connections in history and theory, and how should we address their significant differences? What does it mean when pundits call Donald Trump a fascist, or label as populist politicians who span left and right such as Hugo Chávez, Juan Perón, Rodrigo Duterte, and Marine Le Pen? Federico Finchelstein, one of the leading scholars of fascist and populist ideologies, synthesizes their history in order to answer these questions and offer a thoughtful perspective on how we might apply the concepts today. While they belong to the same history and are often conflated, fascism and populism actually represent distinct political and historical trajectories. Drawing on an expansive history of transnational fascism and postwar populist movements, Finchelstein gives us insightful new ways to think about the state of democracy and political culture on a global scale.

 

Klemperer, V. (2017). Munich 1919: Diary of a Revolution. Polity, 220 pp.

Munich 1919 is a vivid portrayal of the chaos that followed World War I and the collapse of the Munich Council Republic by one of the most perceptive chroniclers of German history. Victor Klemperer provides a moving and thrilling account of what turned out to be a decisive turning point in the fate of a nation, for the revolution of 1918-9 not only produced the first German democracy, it also heralded the horrors to come. With the directness of an educated and independent young man, Klemperer turned his hand to political journalism, writing astute, clever and linguistically brilliant reports in the beleaguered Munich of 1919. These observations are made ever more poignant by the inclusion of passages from his later memoirs. In the midst of increasing persecution under the Nazis he reflected on the fateful year 1919, the growing threat of antisemitism, and the acquaintances he made in the period, some of whom would later abandon him, while others remained loyal.

 

Lowe, K. (2017). The Fear and the Freedom: How the Second World War Changed Us. St. Martin's Press, 576 pp.

The Second World War was one of the most catastrophic events in human history. But how did the experience and memory of bloodshed affect our lives in the years that followed? The new order, as it emerged after 1945, saw the end of European empires and the birth of two new superpowers, whose wrangling would lead to a new, global Cold War. Scientists delivered new technologies, politicians fantasized about overhauled societies, people changed their nationalities and dreamed of new lives. It was an era of wonder and terror. As well as analyzing the major changes, The Fear and the Freedom uses the stories of how ordinary people coped with the post-war world and turned one of the greatest traumas in history into an opportunity for change. This is the definitive exploration of the aftermath of WWII, and the impact it still has today on our nations, cities and families.

  Rappaport, E. (2017). A Thirst for Empire: How Tea Shaped the Modern World. Princeton University Press, 568 pp.

Tea has been one of the most popular commodities in the world. Over centuries, profits from its growth and sales funded wars and fueled colonization, and its cultivation brought about massive changes―in land use, labor systems, market practices, and social hierarchies―the effects of which are with us even today. A Thirst for Empire takes a vast and in depth historical look at how men and women―through the tea industry in Europe, Asia, North America, and Africa―transformed global tastes and habits and in the process created our modern consumer society. Rappaport delves into how Europeans adopted, appropriated, and altered Chinese tea culture to build a widespread demand for tea in Britain and other global markets and a plantation-based economy in South Asia and Africa. The commercial model that tea inspired still exists and is vital for understanding how politics and publicity influence the international economy.

  Madden, T. F. (2017). Istanbul: City of Majesty and the Crossroads of the World. Penguin, 400 pp.

For more than two millennia Istanbul has stood at the crossroads of the world, perched at the very tip of Europe, gazing across the shores of Asia. The history of this city–known as Byzantium, then Constantinople, now Istanbul–is at once glorious, outsized, and astounding. Founded by the Greeks, its location blessed it as a center for trade but also made it a target of every empire in history, from Alexander the Great and his Macedonian Empire to the Romans and later the Ottomans. From its ancient past to the present, we meet the city through its ordinary citizens–the Jews, Muslims, Italians, Greeks, and Russians who used the famous baths and walked the bazaars–and the rulers who built it up and then destroyed it, including Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the man who christened the city “Istanbul” in 1930. Thomas F. Madden’s entertaining narrative brings to life the city we see today, including the rich splendor of the churches and monasteries that spread throughout the city.