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.
Chapter 9: Derrida and Deconstruction: Challenges to the Transparency of Language
Derrida and Deconstruction: Challenges to the Transparency of Language
In 1987, the publication in the American Historical Review of John Toews’ review essay, ‘Intellectual history after the linguistic turn: the autonomy of meaning and the irreducibility of experience,’ marked a decisive moment in the development of Anglo-American historiography.1 The very title of this important essay announced the accomplishment in the profession of history of the large-scale shift in emphasis that had been variously taking place for perhaps two decades throughout the human sciences. In brief, that shift involved a definitive turning of attention to the ways that experience is perceived as meaningful by individual and collective social actors and to the complex and multiple social and psychological ...