Re-Thinking History

Re-Thinking History

Re-Thinking History

Re-Thinking History

Synopsis

History means many things to many people. But finding an answer to the question 'What is history?' is a task few feel equipped to answer. If you want to explore this tantalising subject, where do you start? What are the critical skills you need to begin to make sense of the past?The perfect introduction to this thought-provoking area, Jenkins' clear and concise prose guides readers through the controversies and debates that surround historical thinking at the present time, providing them with the means to make their own discoveries.

Excerpt

Everything, everybody and every book have a history. What Keith Jenkins’ book Re-Thinking History, published in 1991, made us all aware of is that such histories are, indeed, just that. They are only histories. This means we would do well to recognise and remember that the histories we assign to things and people are composed, created, constituted, constructed and always situated literatures. And, what is more, they carry within them their author’s philosophy or ‘take’ on the world present, past and future. Such is the importance and influence of this book, especially among the younger generation of history students, that it now seems quaintly old fashioned to bother to point out that ‘history’ is not the same as ‘the past’. By the same token that as a form of knowledge history is - plainly and palpably - a narrative representation.

That history is not some kind of mirror of past reality (and not because it is distorted by the bees in the bonnet of the historian, or their poor inference, or the poverty of their sources) seems a pretty obvious thing to say these days. This, the . . .

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