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The sub-branch of history that is known by the ambiguous (and frightening to undergraduates, cats, and many mainstream academics) name “historiography” seems to be undergoing a Renaissance at the moment.
Historians are good at putting objects in their place. Details about context, manufacture, use, abuse, meaning, significance, decay, and so on are layered so that an object itself becomes a carrier of its moment in history. Putting material back into the fabric of history itself enriches that history.
Never has the extraordinarily rich literature on mass atrocity seemed more relevant as ongoing reports from around the world remind us that we live in an age of genocide. This vast repertoire of scholarly work can appear at maximum capacity with countless overarching theoretical frameworks of mass violence.
Robert Caro’s new book, Working, is a sort of self-help manual for historians. Packed with thought-provoking insights and practical advice, it is sure to delight and inspire scholars, from eager students to consummate professionals, looking for a master class in history.
Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury (1120–70) is one of the iconic figures in British history – a man who most people have not only heard of, but also have an opinion on. Yet, despite the brutality of his murder, such opinions are not always positive. In fact, this medieval archbishop is an unusually divisive figure, and always has been.
It is difficult to believe now that generations of scholars in the 20th century argued with insistence that the indigenous cultures of the Americas were destroyed by European imperial expansion.
Last year’s prestigious AMC fictional drama The Terror traced the fate of John Franklin’s crew from the moment the famous expedition in search of the Northwest Passage grinded to a halt in the Arctic ice near King William Island, in 1846, to the disappearance of second-in-command Francis Crozier, years later.
Both in the number and quality of his writings, William of Malmesbury (c.1090-1142) has been widely recognised as one of the foremost contributors to the pronounced historiographical turn seen throughout the Anglo-Norman realm from the first decades of the 12th century onwards.
When I was a fourth grade student in suburban Birmingham, Alabama in the 1970s, the history curriculum was devoted to a study of our state. Our teacher, Mrs. Lawson, supplemented our textbook with personal recollections of the Civil War gleaned from her own grandmother, who had been a girl in the 1860s. Mrs.
Ask a historian of demonology to review a biography of an astrologer. It seemed like a good idea when the invitation arrived, and I happily consented. What could possibly go wrong? The subject seemed interesting.