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.

Postcolonial Theory and History

Benjamin Zachariah

Introduction

One of the central difficulties in writing about ‘postcolonial history’ is that no one is sure what it is, or when it is. ‘Postcolonialism‘ is a label worn uneasily by practitioners of ‘postcolonial theory’, of ‘postcolonial history’, ‘postcolonial criticism’ or (more non-committally) of ‘postcolonial studies’. The ‘ism’ maintains (in some uses) pejorative connotations, as does the ‘theory’, especially for some critics whose commitment to the discipline of ‘history’ is construed as a practical rather than an abstract one, with ‘theory’ being construed as necessarily abstract. (As this is a handbook of historical theory, not too much space will be given to the anti-theorists’ false dichotomy.) The ‘history’ part is in some readings also problematic, ...

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