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historiography



  • Lizabeth Cohen Reviews "Myth America"

    Although it was inspired by the battles over history encouraged by the Trump administration and the MAGA movement, a new book of essays on historical mythmaking actually shows that spinning the past to serve a present agenda is nothing new. For historians, the task isn't just fact-finding, but offering compelling interpretations. 



  • Kruse and Zelizer: History is a Battleground

    Is it reasonable for historians to "stick to the facts" and hope the truth will win out when political partisans are cherry-picking the past for justification of radical agendas in the present?



  • New Anthology Mistakes the Roots of the Problem as "Misinformation" Rather than Power

    by Paul M. Renfro and Matthew E. Stanley

    The new "Myth America" offers insight into some recurrent myths about history from some excellent scholars, but it hews too closely to the idea that historical lies are a Trumpian phenomenon, rather than a broader aspect of the pursuit and consolidation of power for MAGA and New Democrats alike. 



  • The End of (Academic) History

    by Sumantra Maitra

    A former academic historian argues that the discipline has killed itself in the marketplace of ideas by broadening its subjects of study and should return to being an emotionally detached pursuit of nonprofessional elites unconcerned with the relationship of past and present.



  • The Decline of Intellectual History is a Problem

    by Steven Mintz

    Ideas matter, and the eclipse of the field of intellectual history puts an understanding of important ones in jeopardy. Even as intellectual history broadens and diversifies, it is still associated with the thoughts of elites. 



  • James Sweet Shouldn't Have Apologized for the Truth

    by Jeffrey Herf

    "Those who repress inconvenient facts or produce fictitious evidence to nourish a politically convenient story are simply not historians—they are activists or propagandists."



  • The Promise and Peril of the "Third Reconstruction"

    by Peniel E. Joseph

    At a time when the nation is balanced precariously between advocates for multiracial democracy and white nationalists, it is important to understand the history and the incompleteness of the expansion of freedom and democracy during Reconstruction. 



  • Historicizing the Legitimacy of LGBTQ History

    by Marc Stein

    The AHA's newsletters reveal a protracted and frequently bitter debate about the boundaries of the discipline as scholars in the early 1970s worked to establish gay and lesbian people and communities as subjects of study. 



  • All History is Revisionist

    by James M. Banner Jr.

    "The collective noun for a group of historians is an “argumentation,” and for good reason. At the very dawn of historical inquiry in the West, historians were already wrestling over the past, attacking each other."



  • History is Always About Politics

    by Joan W. Scott

    The tradition of the discipline has cast politics as an object of study, but deliberately ignored the way that writing history is tangled up with who wields power and how.



  • Two Cheers for Presentism

    by David A. Bell

    Now that the dust has settled over the AHA President's controversial essay, it's time to consider more carefully how the present informs the work of historians, and how to do "presentism" right.