Historiographical Analysis

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In a nutshell, historiography is the history of history. Rather than subjecting actual events – say, the Rape of Nanking – to historical analysis, the subject of historiography is the history of the history of the event: the way it has been written, the sometimes conflicting objectives pursued by those writing on it over time, and the way in which such factors shape our understanding of the actual event at stake, and of the nature of history itself. (Writing on History, Queens College

We must always interrogate the source of our histories. And we gain expertise and increase our knowledge base, we begin not only to interrogate the circumstances, context individuals, institutions and intent of our sources, but compare them to an ever-growing base of other sources and historians who we become familiar with–as friends or as enemies–through the course of our studies and careers.

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Key Terminology

  • Origins
  • Purpose
  • Values
  • Limitations
  • Frame of Reference
  • Point of View
  • Schools of thought
  • Debates
  • Perspectives
  • Philosophies
  • Marginalized voices
  • Orthodoxy
  • Revisionism
  • Post-Revisionism
  • Meta-analysisHobsbawm
  • Linear, cyclical, wave metaphors for history
  • The influence of political context on historians and the writing of history
  • Original and personal philosophies and perspectives