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George Bancroft

Historian George Bancroft in Germany

The class examined historiography, the study of historical thought from its emergence in the classical world to the present. It concentrates on how history has been interpreted, rather the facts of history themselves. The course contemplates the fundamental questions about the nature of history and investigates the relationships between theory and evidence in historical writing. Also explored are the varieties of narratives historians have used to reconstruct the past and many of the major historiographical schools and ideas that have developed over time.

Required Texts

* Bentley, Michael. Modern Historiography: An Introduction. London: Routledge, 1999.
* Breisach, Ernst. Historiography: Ancient, Medieval, and Modern, 2nd Edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994.
* Green, Anna, and Kathleen Troup, eds. The Houses of History: A Critical Reader in Twentieth-Century History and Theory. New York: New York University Press, 1999.
* Marius, Richard. A Short Guide to Writing about History. NY: Longmans, 1999
* Turabian, Kate L. Manual for Writers of Term Papers, 6th Edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

Web-based Readings

* Maryilyn, Bernard. “The Challenge of Modern Historiography.” American Historical Review 87 (February 1982).
* Bentley, Michael. “Herbert Butterfield and the Ethics of Historiography.” History & Theory 44 (February 2005).
* Gorman, Jonathan. “Historians and Their Duties.” History & Theory 43 (December 2004).
* Nolte, Ernst. “The Relationship Between Bourgeois and Marxist Historiography.” History & Theory 14 (January 1975).
* Zagorin, Perez. “History, The Referent, and Narrative: Reflections on Postmodernism Now.” History & Theory 38 (January 1999).

Recommended Supplemental Reading

* Bambach, Charles R. Heidegger, Dilthey, and the Crisis of Historicism. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995.
* Barraclough, Geoffrey. Main Trends in History. New York: Holmes & Meier, 1979.
* Butterfield, Herbert. Man on His Past: The Study of the History of Historical Scholarship. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1955.
* Charters David A., Marc Milner, and J. Brent Wilson, eds. Military History and the Military Profession. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1992.
* Collingwood, R. G. The Idea of History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.
* Garraghan, Gilbert J. A Guide to Historical Method. New York: Fordham University Press, 1946.
* Gottschalk, Louis. Understanding History: A Primer of Historical Method. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1963.
* Hornblower, Simon, ed. Greek Historiography. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996.
* Johnson, Allen. The Historian and Historical Evidence. New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1930.
* Montagu, M. F. Ashley, ed. Toynbee and History: Critical Essays and Reviews. Boston: Porter Sargent, 1956. Powicke, F. M. Modern Historians and the Study of History: Essays and Papers. London: Odhams Press, 1955.
* Richardson, Alan. History Sacred and Profane. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1964.
* Snooks, Graeme Donald. The Laws of History. London: Routledge, 1998.
* Thompson, James Westfall, and Bernard J. Holm. A History of Historical Writing. New York: Macmillan, 1942.