HIS 2123 History Writing: New Directions

Course Description:

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to some important new directions in history writing of the recent decades that have forced a re-evaluation of the relationship of historians to their subject. The course will trace fundamental changes that came with structuralism and the Marxist school in Britain before exploring the paradigmatic shift created by the next generation of historians influenced by Foucault, Hayden White and Said. It will analyse the contribution of the Subaltern studies collective of historians, its present status, and evoke the critiques it has spawned. The recent trends towards narrative history and detachment from given models and schools will be reappraised.

Learning Objectives:
The objective of this course is to provide a comprehensive knowledge for students in the History Special Degree on the philosophical and methodological changes introduced to the study of History as a scientific subject in parallel with paradigm shifts in social sciences.

Learning Outcomes:
At the end of this course, students should be able to:

• Understand the change in approaches to historical inquiry
• Have an awareness of historical interpretations as a socially constructed set of knowledge
• Be analytical in understanding and appraising the work of historians

Course Content:
1. The question of ‘objective history’

2. New history in the twentieth century:
• The Annals Schools (structuralism)
• Social history: British Marxist approaches (E.P Thompson)
• New History: new objectives and methodologies.

3. The linguistic turn:
• Post – structuralism (Foucault, De Certeau)
• Metahistory and emplotment (Haydn White)
• Orientalism and post-Orientalists (Edward Said)

4. Subaltern studies:
• The peasant in history (Guha)
• Provincialising Europe (Chakraborty)
• Critiques of Subaltern studies (Sumith Sarkar, O’Hanlon, Chandravarkar)

5. New direction in history writing: gender, ‘oral history’, beyond the cultural turn

Attendance 10%
Midterm Test or Assignment 30%
Final Exam 60%

Recommended Readings:
Burle, P. (2004) What is Cultural History?, Cambridge: Polity Press.
Chatterjee, P. (1993) The Nation and its Fragments: Colonial and Post Colonial Histories, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Chakraborty, D. (2000) Provincialising Europe, Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference, NY: Princeton University Press.
De Certeau, M., Conely, T. (1988) The writing of History: European Perspectives, NY: Columbia University Press.
Guha, R. (ed.) (1997) A Subaltern Studies Reader1986-1995 Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Marwick, A. (2001) The New Nature of History, England: Macmillan.
Said, E. (1985) Orientalism, London: Routledge and Keegan Paul.
Ed. D. Thompson (2001) The Essential E.P. Thompson, NY: The New Press.