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.
Part II: Applications: Theory-intensive Areas of History
The impress of historical theory has left its mark on the professional practice of history throughout all the specialized subject fields, albeit some more than others. A generalized awareness that complex meanings and interpretive assertions are not passively uncovered ‘in’ historical archives but are constructed in the course of the historian's research and writing has become part of the very atmosphere of advanced training in research universities. As modern academic historians, we take for granted that empirically grounded research, with its stringent standards of accuracy, transparency, and sufficiency, is part of a complex process of pattern-seeking, scaling up and down through analogues, and other active interpretive work by which events become facts, and facts are integrated into structures of ...