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What is History?

European history is whatever the historian wants it to be. It is a summary of the events and ideas political, religious, military, serious, romantic, prosaic, near at hand, far away, tragic, comic, significant, meaningless, anything else you would like it to be. There is only one limiting factor. It must take place in or derive from the area we cal
Jeffrey Richards answers
Stephen Yeo ends our discussion...

'All human life is there'. But is it - and can it be interpreted on a par with the chronicles of the great and good? Five social historians discuss the relevance of history without 'kings and things'.

Historians ask, what constitutes the history of popular culture?

Dai Smith, senior lecturer at University College, Cardiff, offers his thoughts.

'Art for art's sake' – but not for many historians. The fine and decorative arts, their styles and iconography, have been mined for insight into the politics, religion and social obsessions of the past. Placing key images alongside the views of six contributors we continue the search.

Distilled 'spirit of the age' or a branch of sociology? Great men and their thoughts - with a lucky dip for culture vultures - or elite ideas whose time had come? Five historians discuss ground rules for the study of intellectual history. 

Historians ask what constitutes the history of the developing world.

The history of ecclesiastical structures? The link between denominations and social change? The history of Christian doctrine? The study of formal beliefs? What people believed? Eight historians answer the question...

Eight historians ask what constitutes diplomatic history.

Putting women back in the record? Rewriting the past? Ghetto history? Gender analysis? Eight historians ask what is women's history?

Six leading historians of science define their discipline.

Six leading historians of science define their discipline.

A new form of antiquarianism? Celebrating experience at the expense of analysis? The sort of history Socialists write? Rescuing the past from the enormous 'condescension of posterity'? Mobilising popular enthusiasm? What is social history? Seven historians answer...

History with the people left out? Arid quantification? Aggregate History? Or study of the essential motivating force of society? What is economic history? Six historians answer?

In the continuing series 'What is...history?' eight historians define political history - an area sometimes regarded as 'narrow', 'elitist' or simply 'dull', but now enjoying a recrudescence.

Eight historians discuss a subject which has strong claims to be regarded as the oldest form of history.

A number of eminent historians discuss what is history and how is a national history constructed.


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