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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.
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.
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.
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.
In Room 145 of the Ceramics Galleries of the Victoria & Albert Museum, at the top of case 50, you can see an ‘architectural fragment’, which, according to its label, ‘once ornamented a palace in Yuanmingyuan or “garden of perfect clarity”’.
The disciplinary development of the ‘human sciences’ has attracted extensive scholarly discussion in the last three or four decades.
Thomas Jefferson has had a rough few years. Since DNA established beyond a reasonable doubt that he fathered children with his slave Sally Hemings, Jefferson has been pushed into the shadows and forced to watch as his political rivals John Adams and Alexander Hamilton enjoy the limelight.
Paradigm shifts in historiography seem to come all at once rather than being spaced evenly along the disciplinary trajectory. The last such shift in writing about slavery and race (including civil rights) in the United States came between the late 1950s and the mid-1970s.
Shlomo Sand is no stranger to controversy.
About two thirds of the way through his brief but informative survey of Global Cities: A Short History Greg Clark, an international mover and shaker in the field and Fellow at the Global Cities Initiative (and other prominent think-tanks and universities), reproduces a graph, based on Google Ngram Viewer data, measuring the approximate occurrence of ‘world’ and ‘global city’ in book fo