Historiography for Undergrads Discussion/Jan.1998


Query From Julia Grant grant@pilot.msu.edu 14 Jan 1998

Does anyone have any suggestions for an essay for bright undergraduate students that discusses the new perspectives on history? I am thinking of an updated version of Edward Carr's _The Historian and 'His' Facts_. I would like students to learn about feminist and postmodernist challenges to traditional history, for instance. However, I find that many of the essays that I read are so jargon-laden that they are inappropriate for undergraduates.

Responses:

From Tony Clark AJMuste33@aol.com 15 Jan 1998

Although I don't know of a postmodern feminist version of Edward Carr's "The Historian and 'His' Facts,"you might take a look at (if you have not already) Ellen Somekawa and Elizabeth A. Smith, "Theorizing the Writing of History or, I Can't Think Why Is Should Be So Dull, for a Great Deal of It Must Be Invention," Journal of Social History 22 (1988): 149-161 and Kathleen Brown's absolutely brilliant essay: "Brave New Worlds: Women and Gender History," William and Mary Quarterly 50, No. 2 (1993): 311-328.

Also, you might consider the very approachable (yet at the same time in some ways troublesome) book coauthored by Joyce Appleby, Lynn Hunt, and Margaret Jacob, Telling the Truth About History (W.W. Norton & Company, 1995).

From mine aysen doyran md7148@cnsvax.albany.edu 15 Jan 1998

Genovese, michael. 1993. women as national leaders. sage:newbury park,CA

Gorkin, michael., Rothman, berkeley. Eds. 1996. three mothers, three daughters:palestinian women's stories. berkeley:california u press.

melman, billie. 1995. women's orients:english women and the middle east, 1718-1918:sexuality, religion and the work. U of michigan press:ann arbor.

emmett, ayala.1996. our sisters' promised land:women, politics and israeli-palestinian coexistence. U of michigan press:ann arbor.

hunter college women's studies collective series.1995. women's realities, women's choices:an introduction to women's studies. oxford U press.

gilsenan, michael.1995. lords of the lebanese marches:violence, power and narrative in an arab society.U of california press:berkeley

scott, joan. 1996. only paradoxes to offer:french feminists and the rights of man. harvard U press

scott, joan.1996. feminism and history. oxford U press

williams, brackette. ed. 1996.women out of place. Routledge.

mabro, Judi. 1996. veiled half-truths. london, ny, I.B tauris.

afkhami, mahnaz., Friedl, Erika. Eds. 1994. in the eye of the storm. london, I.B. tauris.

butler, judith., scott, joan. Eds. 1992. feminists theorize the political. new york, london:Routledge

mernissi, fatima. 1995. dreams of trespass. MA, addison-wesley.

badran, Margot., Cooke, miriam. eds. opening the gates. bloomington: indiana U press

chattergee, partha.1993.the nation and its fragments:colonial and post colonial fragments.princeton:princeton U press

nicholsan, linda. ed. 1990. feminism/postmodernism. n.y:Routledge. the same writer's newly published book. 1997. social postmodernism:beyond identity politics.

pateman, carol., gross, e. Eds. 1987. feminist challenges:social and political theory. boston:north eastern U press

rowbotham, sheila. 1992. women in movement:feminism and social action. london:Routledge

trinh, minh-ha t. 1989. woman native order:writing post-coloniality and feminism. bloomington:indiana U press.

pateman, carol. 1988. the sexual contract. stanford U press.

rowbotham, s. 1973. hidden from history. pluto press:london

scott, j.1988. gender and the politics of history. columbia U press:london

keddie, n.r., baron, b. Eds. shifting boundaries:women and gender in middle eastern history. yale U press:new haven. 1992.

From Suzanne Spoor SPOORS@gunet.georgetown.edu 15 Jan 1998

I find Jane Tompkin's essay, "'Indians': Textualism, Morality and the Problem of History" is excellent for helping students see not only the many-sidedness of an event or era, but for beginning to understand that we can only access history through representations of it. That is, the idea that someone, somewhere actually knows the "real story." The essay is in Henry Gates's "Race," Writing and Difference.

From Kim Clark kc0004@jove.acs.unt.edu 15 Jan 1998

As an undergrad in Historiography I read Carr's "What is History?" It might be worth looking at.

From Maureen Tighe-Brown MTB 71431.1612@compuserve.com 15 Jan 1998

Instead of a fairly polemical, theoretical essay, I would assign an essay that demonstrates unequivocally how the older readings of human experience are reshaped by the newer analyses from other perspectives. Two such essays are:

  1. The 5th essay in Caroline Walker Bynum's Fragmentation and Redemption: Essays on Gender and the Human Body in Medieval Religion (the 4th and 6th are also excellent, although better read after the 5th, I think);
  2. Joan Wallach Scott's re-reading of E. P. Thompson's Making of the English Working Class, in her Gender and the Politics of History.

Neither essay is jargon-ridden, and each includes abundant discussion of the older and newer approaches to historical questions.

If the course requires an exclusively theoretical essay, you might consider "Competing Histories of America" in Telling the Truth About History, by Joyce Appleby, Lynn Hunt, & Margaret Jacob. This is also jargon-free, and a well crafted examination of the title issues, from European Enlightenments, absolutisms, and revolutions to their sequela in U.S. scholarship, right through to social histories, computer use and 'media,', and multiculturalism. In short, a thorough historical grounding for undergraduate students to evaluate the value of more recent historiographical approaches.

From JUDITH ANN GIESBERG GIESBERG@bcvms.bc.edu 15 Jan 1998

I was looking for a similar such piece myself. There is a collection of essays edited by Eric Foner called _The New American History_ that is interesting, but I am not sure it is appropriate. In the end, I am giving them selections from _Lies Your History Teacher Told You_, because I was pressed for time. Most are field-specific, too jargony (as you mentioned), or ancient!Let me know what you come up with.

From Carmen Ramos Escandn cramose@mail.internet.com.mx 15 Jan 1998

Here are several titles that can do the job. I had a good experience using them with my students. Fernand Braudel's _On History_ (University of Chicago, 1980) shows some signs of aging, yet it is still a good introduction. Along the lines of Carr's but with a new perspective which in fact includes discussions on Carr and Hayden is Keith Jenkins _On What is History_ (Routledge, 1995). A general overview on different types of historical approaches is Peter Burke, _New Perspectives on Historical Writing_ (Penn State UP, 1991), which, in my perspective, is more accessible for undergraduates than _History and Social Theory_ (Cornell UP, 1992). The latter is more methodologically sound, maybe for an upper division course. Last but not least the problem of memory with discussion on Foucault et all is Patrick Hutton, _History as an Art of Memory_ (University of Vermont UP, 1993), not to mention Jacques Le Goff "super classic" _History and Memory_ (Columbia UP).Good luck.