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Refiguring History: New Thoughts on an Old Discipline by Keith Jenkins

By Keith Jenkins

During this enticing sequel to Rethinking heritage, Keith Jenkins argues for a re-figuration of historic examine. on the center of his survey lies the conclusion that goal and disinterested histories in addition to old 'truth' are unachievable. The previous and questions on the character of background stay interminably open to new and disobedient approaches.Jenkins reassesses traditional background in a daring style. His dedicated and radical examine provides new methods of 'thinking history', a brand new method and philosophy and their influence on historic perform. This quantity is written for college students and academics of historical past, illuminating and altering the middle in their self-discipline.

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More than deploy or reveal a truth already potentially present . . I cannot decide except when this decision does more and other than manifest my possibilities, my power, my capacity-to-be. As paradoxical as it may seem, it is thus necessary for me to receive from the other . . the very decision whose responsibility I assume. What I decide for the other, he Opening time(s) 19 decides as much for me, and this singular substitution . . seems at the same time impossible and necessary. This is the sole condition of the possibility of a decision worth its name, if ever there were such a thing: a strangely passive decision that does not in the least exonerate me of responsibility.

For the whole point of a historical consciousness is very precisely not just to `know' the persons and events of `the before now' as a contemporary might have done then, but as historians do now; looking back. Accordingly, the very thing professional historians seem to want is not only logically impossible but also plainly anti-historical. This leads me on to my main discussion in this section which begins with the assertion that, in the light of the above, the only thing we can ever offer as a history is a present-centred proposal, a tentative presentation about how `the before now' might be seen.

Anyone who doesn't subscribe to the norms of professionalism is thus put down by saying this person isn't doing proper history. 5 38 Last order(s) But it is not just that. For the persons, events, processes and structures of `the before now', are the object of study by many other discourses of the human and social sciences and, indeed, the natural and physical sciences too. Not just historians but anyone ± journalists, politicians, media commentators, film makers, artists ± can and do successfully access `the before now' often in ingenious ways which pay scant regard to the `skills and methods' of the historian, skills and methods which White has characterised, on another occasion, as little more than the study of a language or two, a consideration of the works in his/her field to gain familiarity, sometime journeyman work in the archive whilst, for the rest, `a general experience of human affairs, reading in peripheral fields, self-discipline and Fitzfleisch are all that is necessary.

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