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By Alun Munslow

Please clarify why you consider and write historical past as you do?

Collecting jointly the responses to this query from 15 of the world’s ultimate historians and theorists, Authoring the Past represents a robust mirrored image on and intervention within the historiographical box.

Edited by way of Alun Munslow and provided in concise digestible essays, the gathering covers a extensive variety of latest pursuits and ideas and gives a wealthy set of reasoned replacement concepts on our cultural engagement with instances passed by. rising from an intensely fertile interval of historic idea and perform, Authoring the Past examines the range of ways to the self-discipline that experience taken form in this time and indicates attainable destiny methods of wondering and interacting with the prior. It presents a distinct perception into fresh debates at the nature and goal of historical past and demonstrates that once diversified metaphysical and aesthetic offerings are made, the character of the illustration of the prior turns into a question of valid dispute. scholars, students and practitioners of historical past will locate it a stimulating and useful resource.

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Extra info for Authoring the Past: Writing and Rethinking History

Example text

We discovered Karl Mannheim’s argument that no human was immune to the ideological influence of social context. As ‘ideology’ (which Mannheim euphemistically transformed into ‘wish dreams’) crept back into the historical vocabulary, it reaffirmed the possibility that ideas could be engines of change (Mannheim 1936). We dipped into a deeply tainted Marxism, cherishing our rediscoveries of a dialectical historical process and the explanatory power of theories of labour value. Yet we resisted the idea that materialism was all, or, as the British historian E.

I have never been possessive of either my students or my readers. I fulfil my ambitions by making theatre of my history. My readers will never learn the meaning of my stories by my telling them what those meanings are. My readers must be theatre critics of my stories. They must go out into the theatre foyer and argue what they mean. Out of all the trivialities of my story, out of all the reality effects with which I pepper it, out of its thousands of words, my readers must reduce it to a sentence or two and say what it means.

Letting go of H/history and moribund ethics meant replacing both with ‘current imaginaries’ and ‘self-reflexive’ and ‘non-historical imaginaries’. In so doing we can, as he concluded, ‘wave goodbye to history’. His training as a philosopher turned historian he said confirmed his suspicion about H/history’s ‘myopic, ideological location in our culture’. It was, as he says, his discovery of Hayden White and Richard Rorty that pushed him to write Rethinking History (1991). The rest as they say is history?

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