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Venice Stream Historiography Seminar 11: Postmodernism and After


Eley, G. & Neild, K., The Future of Class in History. What’s Left of the Social? (Ann Arbor MI, 2007), 57-80.

Evans, R.J., In Defence of History (London, 1997) [D16.8.E9]

Evans, R.J., ‘In Defence of History: Reply to Critics (Version 4)’ (IHR ONLINE):]

Jenkins, K., Re-Thinking History (London, 1991)

Jenkins, K. (ed.), The Postmodern History Reader (London, 1997), `Introduction’, 1-30

Further Seminar Reading:

Evans, R.J., et al ‘Continuous Discourse: History and its Post-Modern Critics’ []

Green, A., & Troup, K. (eds), The Houses of History: A Critical Reader in Twentieth-Century History and Theory (Manchester, 1999), 297-307 (‘The Challenge of Poststructuralism and Postmodernism’)

Passmore, K., ‘Poststructuralism and History’, in S. Berger, H. Feldner and K. Passmore (eds), Writing History: Theory and Practice (London, 2003), 118-40

Putnam, H., History, Reason and Theory (Cambridge, 1981)

Searle, J. R., Mind, Language and Society (London, 1999)

Questions for Essays and/or Seminar Preparation:

  1. `Threat’ or ‘opportunity for renewal’: which better describes the implications of postmodernism for the discipline of history?
  2. What was `the linguistic turn’?
  3. What, if anything, distinguishes history from other social sciences?
  4. Is postmodernism over?

1. General on Postmodernism and Post-modernity:

Anderson, P., The Origins of Postmodernity (London, 1998)

Appiganesi, R., & Garratt, C., Introducing Postmodernism (Cambridge,1995)

Bauman, Z., Intimations of Postmodernity (London, 1992)

Boettcher, S. R., ‘The Linguistic Turn’, in G. Walker (ed.), Writing Early Modern History (London, 2005), 71-94

Bunzl, M., Real History: Reflections on Historical Practice (London, 1997)

Harvey, D., The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry Into the Origins of Cultural Change (Oxford, 1990)

Kumar, K., From Post-Industrial to Post-Modern Society: New Theories of the Contemporary World (Oxford, 1995)

Lyotard, J. F., The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (Manchester, 1984)

McCullagh, C.B., The Truth of History (London, 1998)

2. Manifestoes for a Postmodern History:

Jenkins, K., On ‘What is History?’: From Carr and Elton to Rorty and White (London, 1995)

Jenkins, K. (ed.), The Postmodern History Reader (London, 1997)

Jenkins, K., Why History? Ethics and Postmodernity (London, 1999)

Joyce, P., & Kelly, K., ‘History and Postmodernism’, Past & Present 133 (1991), 204-13

Joyce, P., ‘The End of Social History?’, Social History, 20 (1995), 73-91

Joyce, P., ‘The Imaginary Discontents of Social History: A Note of Response to Mayfield and Thorne and Lawrence and Taylor’, Social History, 18 (1993), 81-85

Joyce, P., ‘The End of Social History?: A Brief Reply to Eley and Nield’, Social History, 21 (1996), 96-98

Joyce, P., ‘The Return of History: Postmodernism and the Politics of Academic History in Great Britain', Past & Present 158 (1998), 207-35

Lawrence, J. & Taylor, M., ‘The Poverty of Protest: Gareth Stedman Jones and the Politics of Language’, Social History 18 (1993), 1-15

Munslow, A., Deconstructing History (London, 1997)

Southgate, B., History:What and Why? Ancient, Modern and Postmodern Perspectives (London, 1996)

Vernon, J., ‘Who’s Afraid of the “Linguistic Turn”? The Politics of Social History and its Discontents’, Social History 19 (1994), 81-97

White, H. Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe (1973)

White, H. Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism (Baltimore, 1978)

3. Critics of a Postmodern History:

Eagleton, T., Literary Theory: An Introduction (Oxford, 1983), chs.2-4

Eley, G., & Nield, K., ‘Starting Over: The Present, The Post-Modern and the Pursuit of Social History’, Social History 20 (1995), 355-64

Elton, G. R., Return to Essentials: Some Reflections on the Present State of Historical Study (Cambridge, 1991), esp. ch.2

Himmelfarb, G., ‘Some Reflections on the New History’, American Historical Review, 94 (1989), 661-70

Kirk, N., ‘History, Language, Ideas and Post-Modernism: A Materialist View’, Social History 19 (1994), 221-40

Mandler, P. ‘The Problem with Cultural History’, Cultural and Social History 1 (2004), 94-117 [& see the replies in Cultural and Social History 1 (2004) by C. Hesse, ‘The New Empiricism’, 201-07; C. Jones, ‘Peter Mandler’s “The Problem with Cultural History, or: Is Playtime Over?”, 209-15; & C. Watts, ‘Thinking About the X Factor, or: What’s the Cultural History of Cultural History?’, 217-24; and the rejoinder in P. Mandler ‘Problems in Cultural History: A Reply’, Cultural and Social History (2004), 326-32

Marwick, A., ‘Two Approaches to Historical Study: The Metaphysical (Including “Postmodernism”) and the Historical’, Journal of Contemporary History, 30 (1995), 5-35 (& cf. H. White, ‘Response to Arthur Marwick, Journal of Contemporary History, 30 (1995), 233-46; & the symposium on the Marwick-White debate in Journal of Contemporary History, 31 (1996), 191-28 (inc. C. Lloyd, ‘For Realism and Against the Inadequacies of Common Sense: A Response to Arthur Marwick’, 191-207; B. Southgate, ‘History and Metahistory: Marwick versus White’, 209-14; W. Kansteiner, ‘Searching for an Audience: The Historical Profession in the Media Age: A Comment on Arthur Marwick and Hayden White’, 215-219; G. Roberts, ‘Narrative History as a Way of Life’, 221-228)

Mayfield, D., & Thorne, S., ‘Social History and its Discontents: Gareth Stedman Jones and the Politics of Language’, Social History 17 (1992), 165-82

Mayfield, D., & Thorne, S., ‘Reply to “The Poverty of Protest” and “The Imaginary Discontents”’, Social History 18 (1993), 219-33

Stone, L., ‘History and Postmodernism’, Past & Present 131 (1991), 17-18

Stone, L., & Spiegel, G., ‘History and Postmodernism’, Past & Present 135 (1992), 89-208

Windschuttle, K., The Killing of History: How Literary Critics and Social Theorists are Murdering our Past (New York, 1996)

4. General:

Ankersmit, F. ‘Historiography And Postmodernism’, History & Theory, 28 (1989), 139-53

Appleby, J., et al., Knowledge and Postmodernism in Historical Perspective (New York, 1996)

Appleby, J., et al., Telling the Truth about History (New York, 1994), esp. chs.5 & 6

Attridge, D., et al., Post-structuralism and the Question of History (Cambridge, 1987)

Fulbrook, M., Historical Theory (London, 2002)

Iggers, G. G., Historiography in the Twentieth Century: from Scientific Objectivity to the Postmodern Challenge (Middletown, CT, 1997), ch.10

Jenkins, K. (ed.), The Postmodern History Reader (1997)

Jordanova, L., History in Practice (London, 2000)

Novick, P., That Noble Dream: The ‘Objectivity’ Question and the American Historical Profession (Cambridge, 1988)

Poster, M., Cultural History and Postmodernity: Disciplinary Readings and Challenges (New York, 1997)

Searle, J. R., ‘The World Turned Upside Down [Review of Culler, On Deconstruction]’, New York Review of Books 30:16 (27 Oct 1983).

Tosh, J., The Pursuit of History: Aims Methods and New Directions in the Study of Modern History (London, 2002)

5. What Now? (What Next?)

Anold, J. H., `Responses to the Postmodern Challenge; or What Might History Become?’, European History Quarterly, 37:1 (2007), 109-132

Bauman, Zygmunt, Liquid Modernity (Cambridge, 2000), 1-16

Buse, Peter et al, Benjamin’s Arcades. An unGuided Tour (Manchester, 2005)

Latour, Bruno, Re-assembling the Social. An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory (Oxford, 2005),

Joyce, Patrick, `Putting the Social Back in Social History’ (Past and Present, 2009; forthcoming)

Spiegel, G., Practicing History. New Directions in Historical Writing after the Linguistic Turn (London, 2005)