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Venice Stream Historiography Seminar 8: Bloch and Les Annales

The seminar will consider the development of this influential `school’ of historical thought, in France and in the wider world. We can explore in some detail the interaction of historical, anthropological, and sociological paradigms in determining a new way of analysing the past. The way in which these `other’ disciplines in the human and social sciences have shaped modern history will be a preoccupation of Historiography from now on. So too will be the Annaliste historians’ conception of time.  Are the ideas of histoire totale, la longue durée, and histoire événementielle at work in other historians’ work you have studied? 


Bloch, M., The Historian's Craft (ed. P. Burke, Manchester, 1992) [D13.B5]

Febvre, L., ‘A New Kind of History’, in A New Kind of History: From the Writings of Lucien Febvre (ed. P. Burke, London, 1973), 27-43 [DC5.F3]

Background Seminar Reading

Bentley, M., Modern Historiography. An Introduction (London, 1999), 103-115

Goody, J., The Theft of History (Cambridge, 2006), 180-214 (`The Theft of Capitalism. Braudel and Global Comparison’)

Green, A., & Troup, K. (eds), The Houses of History: A Critical Reader in Twentieth-century History and Theory (Manchester, 1999), 87-97 (‘The Annales’)

Hughes-Warrington, M., Fifty Key Thinkers on History (London, 2000), `Marc Bloch’, Fernand Braudel’

Iggers, G. G. & Wang, E. Q., A Global History of Modern Historiography (London, 2008), 186-188; 256-262; 331-234

Middell, M., `The Annales’, in S. Berger, H. Feldner and K. Passmore (eds), Writing History: Theory and Practice (London, 2003), 104-17

Questions for Seminar Preparation (may also be used as essay titles):

  1. Discuss the ideas of historical ‘craft’ and historical ‘science’ in Bloch’s Historian’s Craft. (Or: What is a métier?)
  2. What were Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre against, and what were they for?
  3. How revolutionary were the aims and methods of the Annales ‘school’?
  4. `The Annales historians assume (as do Marxists) that history cannot be limited to a simple recounting of conscious human actions, but must be understood in the context of forces that underlie human behaviour’. Discuss.

1. General on Les Annalistes:

Burke, P., ‘French Historians and their Cultural Identities’, in E. Tonkin et al (eds), History and Ethnicity (London, 1989), 157-167

Burke, P., The French Historical Revolution: The Annales School, 1929-89 (Cambridge, 1990)

Carrard, P., Poetics of the New History: French Historical Discourse from Braudel to Chartier (Baltimore, 1992)

Clark, S. (ed.), The Annales School: Critical Assessments (4 vols, London, 1999)

Cobb, R., ‘Annalistes’ Revolution’, Times Literary Supplement (8 September 1966), 19-20, reprinted as ‘Nous des Annales’, in Cobb, A Second Identity: Essays on France and French History (Oxford, 1969), 76-83

Dosse, F., New History in France: The Triumph of the Annales (Urbana IL, 1994)

Fox-Genovese, E., ‘The Political Crisis of Social History: A Marxian Perspective’, Journal of Social History, 10 (1976), 205-20

Himmelfarb, G., The New History and the Old (Cambridge MASS, 1987), 1-46

Hunt, L., ‘French History in the Last Twenty Years: The Rise and Fall of the Annales Paradigm’, Journal of Contemporary History, 21 (1986), 209-24, & reprinted in S. Clark (ed.), The Annales School: Critical Assessments (4 vols, London, 1999), I, 24-38

Iggers, G. G., New Directions in European Historiography (London, 1985)

Iggers, G. G., Historiography in the Twentieth Century: from Scientific Objectivity to the Postmodern Challenge (Middletown, CT, 1997), ch.5

Jones, G. S., ‘The New Social History in France’, in C. Jones & D. Wahrman (eds), The Age of Cultural Revolutions: Britain and France, 1750-1820 (Berkeley, 2002), 94-105

Judt, T., `A Clown in Regal Purple: Social History and the Historians’, History Workshop Journal 7 (1979), 66-94

Macintyre, A. , After Virtue. A Study in Moral Theory (London, 1981)

Skinner, Q., The Return of Grand Theory in the Human Sciences (Cambridge, 1990), ch.1

Stoianovich, T., French Historical Method: The Annales Paradigm (Ithaca, 1976)

Stone, L., The Past and the Present (London, 1981), 3-44, 74-96

2. On Marc Bloch & Lucien Febvre:

Chirot, D., ‘The Social and Historical Landscape of Marc Bloch’, in T. Skocpol (ed.), Vision and Method in Historical Sociology (Cambridge, 1984), 22-46, & reprinted in S. Clark (ed.), The Annales School: Critical Assessments (4 vols, London, 1999), IV, 177-99

Epstein, S. R., ‘Marc Bloch: The Identity of a Historian’, Journal of Medieval History, 19 (1993), 273-83

Fink, C., Marc Bloch: A Life in History (Cambridge, 1989)

Ginzburg, C., ‘German Mythology and Nazism: Thoughts on an Old Book by Georges Dumezil’, in Ginzburg, Myths, Emblems, Clues (London, 1990), 126-45

Loyn, H., ‘Marc Bloch’, in J. Cannon, J. (ed.), The Historian at Work (London, 1980), 121-35, & reprinted in S. Clark (ed.), The Annales School: Critical Assessments (4 vols, London, 1999), IV, 162-76

Lyon, B., ‘Marc Bloch, Historian’, French Historical Studies, 15 (1987), 195-207

Lyon, B., ‘Marc Bloch: Did He Repudiate Annales History?’, Journal of Medieval History, 11 (1985), 181-92, & reprinted in S. Clark (ed.), The Annales School: Critical Assessments (4 vols, London, 1999), IV, 200-212

3. On Fernand Braudel:

Braudel, F., The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Phillip II, 2 vols (London, 1972-73)

Braudel, F., On History (Chicago, 1980)

Braudel, F., Civilisation and Capitalism, Fifteenth to Eighteenth Centuries: The Structures of Everyday Life; The Wheels of Commerce; The Perspective of the World (3 vols., London, 1981-5)

Braudel, F., The Identity of France: History and Environment; People and Production (2 vols., 1988-90)

Burke, P., ‘Fernand Braudel’, in J. Cannon, J. (ed.), The Historian at Work (London, 1980), 188-202, & reprinted in S. Clark (ed.), The Annales School: Critical Assessments (4 vols, London, 1999), III, 111-23

Kinser, S., ‘Capitalism Enshrined: Braudel's Trypych of Modern European History’, Journal of Modern History, 53 (1981), 673-82, & reprinted in S. Clark (ed.), The Annales School: Critical Assessments, 4 vols (London, 1999), III, 184-94

Kinser, S., ‘Annaliste Paradigm? The Geo-Historical Structuralism of Fernand Braudel’, American Historical Review, 86 (1981), 63-105, & reprinted in S. Clark (ed.), The Annales School: Critical Assessments, 4 vols (London, 1999), III, 124-75

McNeill, W., et al., ‘History With A French Accent’, Journal of Modern History, 44 (1972), 447-538 (incl. F. Braudel, ‘Personal Testimony’, 448-67; H. R. Trevor Roper, ‘Fernand Braudel, the Annales, and the Mediterranean’, 468-79 ; J. H. Hexter, ‘Fernand Braudel and the Monde Braudellien . . .’, 480-538)

4. Other historians of the Annales School (Or, At Work with the Annales Paradigm):

Aries, P., et al. (eds), A History of Private Life (5 vols., Cambridge MASS, 1987-94)

Goubert, P., The Ancien Regime: French Society, 1600-1750 (London, 1974)

Le Roy Ladurie, E., Montaillou: Cathars and Catholics in a French Village, 1294-1324 (London, 1978)

Le Roy Ladurie, E., The Mind and Method of the Historian (Chicago, 1981)

Le Roy Ladurie, E., The Peasants of Languedoc (Urbana IL, 1974)

Le Roy Ladurie, E., The Territory of the Historian (Hassocks, 1979)

Vovelle, M., Ideologies and Mentalities (Cambridge, 1990)