The editors introduce the core areas of current debate within historical theory, bringing the reader as up to date with continuing debates and current developments as is possible. The book is divided into three parts, covering: • Part I. Foundations: The Theoretical Grounds for Knowledge of the Past • Part II. Applications: Theory-Intensive Areas in History • Part III. Coda. Post-Postmodernism: Directions and Interrogations This important handbook brings together in one volume discussions of the role of modernity, empiricism, realism, post-modernity and deconstruction in the historian's craft. Chapters are written by leading writers from around the world and cover a wide spread of historical sub-disciplines, such as social history, intellectual history, narrative, gender, memory, psycho-analysis and cultural studies, taking in, along the way, the work of thinkers such as Paul Ricouer, Michel Foucault and Hayden White. The Sage Handbook of Historical Theory is an essential resource for practicing historians, and students of history, and will appeal to scholars in related disciplines in the social sciences and humanities who seek a closer understanding of the theoretical foundations of history.

Foundations: Theoretical Frameworks for Knowledge of the Past

Introduction

Historical theory is a coherent yet flexible framework which supports the analysis of historical knowledge, and assists our understanding of what kind of knowledge we can have of the past, and precisely how that knowledge is constructed, assembled, and presented. In this sense of a framework of conceptual instruments for examining our knowledge of the past, theory is metahistorical: it does its work as an adjunct operation opening out the reach of critical self-awareness we bring to our assumptions and practices as historians. Theory is metahistorical also in that in its strongest versions it applies to the entire discipline of history, all time periods, and specialized topics. The focus and coverage of historical theory differentiate it ...

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