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History in Practice


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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations Acknowledgements Note to Readers Introduction 1. History in General 2. Mapping the Discipline of History 3. History in the Humanities 4. History in the Social Sciences 5. The Status of Historical Knowledge 6. Periodisation 7. Public History 8. Historians' Skills 9. History in a Digital Age 10. Trends Endnotes Bibliography Index

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Examining history as an academic discipline, this book engages with the extensive and sometimes troubling uses of historical ideas in the wider world.

About the Author

Ludmilla Jordanova is Emeritus Professor of History and Visual Culture, Durham University, where she was Director of the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture 2015-19. She was previously Professor of Modern History, King's College, London and Director of the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Cambridge. Her most recent books are The Look of the Past: Visual and Material Evidence in Historical Practice (2012) and Physicians and their Images (2018).


One of the last half-century's most insightful, level-headed, and humane reflections on the practice of history and its cultural significance. * History Journal *
A major, deeply reflective work upon the nature of studying and writing history. No other author has treated the subject in the same way. She writes with equal facility about the history of society, high-politics, economics and science and displays a genuine understanding of the differing spirits and methods of sociology, anthropology and philosophy and the ways in which these have made an impact upon history. * Ronald Hutton, Professor of History, University of Bristol, UK *
Now thoroughly revised and updated, Jordanova's book offers a distinctive and insightful perspective on the historical enterprise. Wise, witty and gracious, it is highly recommended. * Patrick Finney, UK Editor, Rethinking History *
Ludmilla Jordanova's History in Practice remains an essential guide to what History is, how it has and can be done, and how it might be done better. Subtle, yet refreshingly forthright, and above all humane, it offers a thought-provoking discussion of History as a methodologically diverse 'craft'. Wide-ranging and erudite in her range of reference, Jordanova sets History in the context of other academic disciplines, including philosophy, anthropology, psychology and literature, and explores its interrelation with these disciplines. She provides an authoritative map of the variant forms of historical practice, examines the kinds of knowledge produced by historians, surveys trends and fashions, and considers the opportunities and challenges posed by the twenty first-century 'digital age'. Reading (and re-reading) History in Practice reminds me why I became an historian; but it also reminds me why History matters. It is an inspirational book. * Paul Readman, Professor of History, King's College, London, UK and author of Storied Ground: Landscape and the Shaping of English National Identity *
History is the most slippery of disciplines, hard to grasp and harder still to pin down. Ludmilla Jordanova makes it look easy. With deft precision she lays out the tools that furnish History's workshop, sharpening their functionality while explaining their use, with the occasional cautionary note. Neither a how-to manual nor a philosophical treatise, History in Practice has long been a vital resource for every student of History. This new edition hones its relevance for a new generation of historians. * Penny Russell, Bicentennial Professor of Australian History, University of Sydney, Australia *
There is no better introduction to what historians do and how they do it. Concise, elegant and informative, this book will enable anyone interested in history to find their way in a discipline that offers virtually unlimited opportunities for exploration. * Lynn Hunt, Distinguished Research Professor of History, University of California LA, USA *

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