Historians In Conversation: Historiography (2/2)

In our previous post we’d mentioned what Historiography is and tried to outline various Historiographical schools of it that were popular from the Ancient Classical period to the first half of the 20th century. In this post we’re focusing on more current developments in Historiography and what such developments may mean for future historians.

Think like a Historian:

Are there any strict definitions a historian has to follow when choosing a Historiographical approach?

Feminist Historiography

This school emerged most predominantly in 1960s-70s with the rise of the second wave feminist movement in Europe and the US. The scholars related to this school argue that perspective on various historical events provided by women were neglected by traditional historians. As a result, such perspectives need to be uncovered. Usually, feminist historians focus on issues of class and gender-based power relations to create an argument in their works; therefore intersecting with the Marxist school.

Suggested reading list:

A quick PSA both Dr Worseley and Ms Lipscomb are on Twitter so give them a follow!
We also strongly recommend for you to have a listen to this amazing podcast! It focuses on discussing stories of women throughout history.

LGBTQ+, or Queer, Historiography

This school emerged fully at approximately the same time as its Feminist and Critical Race counterparts. This approach attempts to understand history through the perspective of LGBTQ+ individuals. Usually works from this school focus on uncovering socio-cultural histories of LGBTQ+ communities. This means that scholars tend to discuss the cultural and social traditions and how LGBTQ+ individuals responded to those.

Suggested Reading List

Queer As Fact is a very awesome podcast that discusses LGBTQ+ individuals. We strongly recommend it.

World, or Macro-, Historiography

This school emerged predominantly in the increasingly globalised world from about early 1990s-2000s. Historians associated with such an approach usually focus on contextualising a geographical region within a wider world via economics and/or cultural links.

Suggested reading list:

As you can see there’s a certain beauty to the study of history today as you can easily reach out to historians, such as Peter Frankopan, via social media!
The History Extra Podcast is really interesting and focuses sometimes on both micro and macro histories.

Think like a Historian:

Can two conflicting Historiographical traditions coexist? Why do you think so?

Local, or Micro-, Historiography

This approach emerged at approximately the same time as its Macro- counterpart. However, this approach focuses more on very local histories and attempts to contextualise them within a bigger picture of a country or even a socio-cultural trend.

Suggested reading list:

Critical Race Historiography

Critical Race Historiography is probably one of the newest approaches. Although there was a growing interest in racial issues from the 1960s, following the Civil Rights Movement in the USA, this school has gained a lot of momentum in the last few years. As its name suggests, the historians who use this approach focus on history from a racial angle. That is not to say that they neglect issues related to class, economics and power-relations.

Suggested reading list:

And you thought that we’re done with recommending you various academics on Twitter….

What does future hold for historians?

Having seen some Historiographical trends die out and others emerge it is not entirely clear what will happen with Historiography in the near future. Some possible contributing factors that may dictate the course of Historiography may be Covid and the rising tensions within society that we’ve seen emerging. Probably future historians will be researching various epidemics, or even natural disasters and how people have responded to those.

Think like a Historian:

Where do you think Historiographical approaches will go in 5 years time? In 20 years time? May be even, if you’re feeling ambitious, in 100 years time?

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