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.

The Turn Towards ‘Science’: Historians Delivering Untheorized Truth

Michael Bentley

A certain unease has always characterized historians’ relation to theory in the West and no single period has shown itself free from that discomfiture. But perhaps one can identify an extended moment in western historical discourse - one running from around 1870 to at least the First World War and possibly the Second - when new currents of excitement over the possibility of unending discovery surrounded historical writing and captivated a young historical profession desperate to assert its cultural authority. Never had the exuberance of ‘scientists’ (an 1830s word) been so marked, never their achievements so remarkable by 1870. No century had produced so many scientific advances as the nineteenth. ...

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