Beth M. Robertson
This article strives to answer the question of whether oral history can survive the funding crisis that rages archival institutions. The cost and complexity of managing archival collections in libraries and archives are increasing at unprecedented rates. Collecting institutions are expected to do more with less, a common experience for most publicly funded repositories since the 1980s. Institutions struggling with backlogs of physical collections are now responsible for electronic collections that grow exponentially and require new formats with astonishing frequency. Archives must provide online as well as on-site services to satisfy researchers, and those who allocate funding. In some ways, oral history is well adapted to survive in this tumultuous environment. Many archival institutions have been educating local practitioners since the 1970s about the standards required by their repositories. The pragmatism required for preservation strategies will be anathema to some curators, just as the underlying principles have been to some archivists in recent years.
This article focuses on the dynamics of interpreting oral history through digital technologies. From today's vantage point, my “high-tech” strategies are quaint and rather obsolete. Faculty have more sophisticated electronic tools at our disposal for oral history instruction, including digital transcription programs, multimedia programs that integrate voice, image, and word, and learning management systems where we can post course materials, communicate with students, organize group communication and so on. In addition to advances in teaching technologies, today's students come with higher degrees of technological literacy than a decade ago. They are equipped with computers, iPods, and cell phones, and many know how to use digital audio and video recorders. Where once we had to teach how to use specialized software programs, faculty now take for granted that students know how to make slide presentations. Some are already familiar with sound or video editing processes, and a few may even have multimedia production experience.
This article poses questions and offers reflections on the most general type of thinking entailed in the study of world history. It addresses the common and contested ways of knowing the world and its past that are shared among us. It discusses the current state of epistemology in world history by giving brief and illustrative references to the development of global epistemology. The article focuses on current issues and current debates, regardless of whether they are new debates or old debates. The ‘historical record’ consists of the currently available evidence on past events. It can expand as more evidence is added with time and as new discoveries and new methods enable the retrieval of additional information on the past. But the historical record can contract as information is lost or forgotten. Finally and most common in usage is ‘history’ as representations of the past.
Food history emerged as a serious academic pursuit in the wake of a major reorientation in the field of history led by French scholars of the Annales School. Established in 1929 by French historians Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre, the Annales in 1929 was a ground-breaking journal dedicated to historical and contemporary research in economics and sociology. Although the Annales is not solely responsible for the rise of social history, its founders undertook ambitious studies focusing on historical standards of living, material lives, demographic trends, and mentalities of pre-modern peoples, a research interest which typically addressed the history of agriculture and problems of subsistence. This article explores how the Annales School has shaped the field of food history by looking at three significant"moments": agricultural patterns and cognitive frameworks of pre-modern societies, food production and food consumption as a foundation of social and economic life, and the history of cuisine through a cultural approach to taste and identity. The article concludes by assessing the influence of the Annales School on the history of food outside of France.
This article examines the role played by the idea of transnationalism in immigrant studies during the past quarter of a century. It does so by first reviewing its developmental phase, which was influenced by a postnational perspective that contended that the salience of the nation-state was declining and by an epistemological critique of methodological nationalism. This is followed by an overview of the main claims of the critics, followed by subsequent revisions, which include a rethinking of the relationship between transnationalism and assimilation and a consideration of assertions that what is at stake is actually bi-localism or translocalism, rather than connections made at the national level. The article concludes by revising slightly Waldinger’s contention that nations remain powerful agents in determining who gets to cross borders and which individuals will be permitted to become citizens via a process of “political resocialization.”
This chapter discusses the process of historicizing the Cold War. It explains that the Cold War had no influence on major world affairs from the late nineteenth century onward and that, under such a view, the Cold War can only be considered as but a fraction of world history. It argues that if the Cold War is to be historicized, it is important to broaden the perspective and relativize the geopolitical story against the background of many other stories which comprise history. The chapter explores the role or contribution the Cold War in the three sub-periods after World War 2: 1945–70, 1970–90, and 1990 to the present.
Heterodox captures the oppositional qualities of ‘alternative’ without insisting on them and thereby ruling out complementarity. This article summarizes the history of heterodox medicine. This survey uses brief case studies to examine the emergence of a global medical marketplace and ideas from the Age of Exploration to the end of the Enlightenment. It focuses on heterodox medicine in Europe and the post-Columbian Americas because it is in these cultures that a self-identified and deliberately exclusive orthodoxy has been at the heart of medical ideology and professional development and fundamental to medical consumerism. This article then turns to the rise of explicitly ‘alternative’ systems like mesmerism and homoeopathy in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the incorporation of some of those systems into biomedicine in the twentieth century. Finally, it looks at the recent historiography of heterodox medicine, and lays out potential directions for future scholarship.
Stuart B. Schwartz
Scholarship on the early modern era in Brazil has been booming since the 1980s. This trend has been influenced theoretically by developments in the social sciences and by the cultural turn in history, by new information technologies of digitalization and the Internet, and by a series of centenaries that have generated institutional support for publications, conferences, and research. This article identifies a number of major themes and questions that have organized much of this historical production, notes the major writings that have moved the field in new directions, and discusses the shifts in emphasis in historical inquiry by concentrating on some of the works that have been seminal in the study of colonial Brazil. Five themes or trends are highlighted: the social history of the major groups within the colony (merchants, cane farmers and sugar barons, slaves, and the free population of color); a complementary cultural approach that has added attention to issues such as private life, public rituals, and subaltern agency; Afro-Brazilian life and culture; a surprisingly rich literature on the indigenous population; and studies of colonial governance.
This article describes the methods and frameworks that historians have been used to examine Latin American families. It goes on to sketch some of their findings, and speculate about the reasons why family has become marginalized as a category of historical inquiry. It tacks back and forth between scholarship written in the vein of family history and work that addresses such issues as domesticity and patriarchy but does not necessarily take family as its central analytic concern. If one query running through the discussion concerns the extent to which family history endures as a recognizable historiographical enterprise, a second and perhaps more trenchant question is whether it should exist as such. The article argues that family history has much to contribute to our understanding of Latin America's past and present, and concludes by identifying several areas for future inquiry.
Kevin Terraciano and Lisa Sousa
This article discusses intellectual, legal, urban, environmental, economic, and religious history and studies of Spaniards, blacks, and slavery in New Spain. The largest section deals with the Amerindian population, particularly with a corpus of historical studies that, employing indigenous-language sources, have unveiled the long-term survival and adaptation of native culture after the European conquest.
This article considers trends in the writing of medical history in Australia and New Zealand since the 1980s. It traces the growing maturity of the discipline in this geographical region. It pinpoints a particular contribution to the wider discipline, the history of the health of indigenous peoples and their interaction with the state as well as the current political resonances of such historiography. It also shows how the history of health and medicine contributes to a broader understanding of those societies and their sense of nationalism or identity. Finally it addresses transnationalism in health histories and the ways in which medicine in these societies reflected or deviated from developments in the international medical community. This article demonstrates how international histories of medicine, as well as local social and political histories, have been enriched by this expanding historiography.
This article explores what both historians of medicine and historians of science could gain from a stronger entanglement of their respective research agendas. It first gives a cursory outline of the history of the relationship between science and medicine since the scientific revolution in the seventeenth century. Medicine can very well be seen as a domain that was highly productive of scientific knowledge, yet in ways that do not fit very well with the historiographic framework that dominated the history of science. Furthermore, the article discusses two alternative historiographical approaches that offer ways of thinking about the growth of knowledge that fit well with the cumulative and translational patterns that characterize the development of the medical sciences, and also provide an understanding of concepts such as ‘health’ and ‘life’.
Seventy years after the start of World War II, revisionists across Europe are arguing that Joseph Stalin was as much to blame for starting the war as was Adolf Hitler. As Adam Krzeminski rightly says, World War II is still being fought. This article sees ‘collective memory’ as a set of representations of the past that are constructed by a given social group (be it a nation, a family, a religious community, or other) through a process of invention, appropriation, and selection, and which have bearings on relationships of power within society. ‘Memory’ here refers not only to the academic study of memory but primarily to the various manifestations of ‘memory politics’ that have characterised Europe since the end of the Cold War. It is worth situating these European memory wars in a broader context, since they occur worldwide, especially in societies scarred by civil war, genocide, and authoritarianism, such as post-apartheid South Africa, Rwanda, Guatemala, and Argentina.
This chapter analyses the links between the development of historical writing (and the historical profession) and the evolution of nationalism (as both cultural sentiment and political doctrine). While many cultural products other than the written word can provide populations with a sense of a shared past, written history produced by acknowledged specialists has often been privileged in nationalist discourses, partly due to the success of the historical profession’s own claims to scientific objectivity and partly due to the close links between historians and emergent states forged during the nineteenth century. While the prevalence of teleological national histories gradually declined in areas such as Europe and America during the twentieth century, national histories remained very important in other parts of the world throughout the period of decolonization. The chapter also seeks to consider possible reasons for the close links between history writing and nationalism, exploring the function national histories came to play in providing individual and group identities during the transition to modernity.
This article presents an overview of the different periodizations of world history. It discusses first world histories that originated as part and parcel of religious visions which connect Creation myths and human history; Greek and Roman historiography; the Christian synthesis of salvation; medieval European historiography of the Six Ages and the Four Empires; Muslim historiography; the European discovery of new histories; the challenges against biblical chronology; Voltaire and the Enlightenment; German Aufklärung; Eurocentrism during the nineteenth century; Marxist historiography; UNESCO's world history after World War II; and current trends. The discussion ends with the big history, which places human history within the wider framework of the history of the universe, thus starting with the Big Bang and going through the formation of the galaxies, the solar system, planet Earth, and the geological eras until the evolution of human beings, and down to the present day.
Theorizing about world history often remains under the blanket of a seemingly empirical narrative and that the investigation of it implies the scanning of hundreds of such narratives. It follows that its story cannot be told in a short introduction to the subject as a continuous chronology. In order to illuminate at least some of its more important twists, this article presents a series of snapshots aimed at clarifying the half-dozen major moods and turns that have played an important part in transforming a subject which the eighteenth century invented into one that it would no longer recognize. The typology's various segments should be seen as progressive through time but overlapping in time rather than successive stages of an evolution. The discussion considers universal history, the Weltgeschichte, modernism, postmodernism, and postcolonialism.
The tercentenary of the Scottish Parliament's approval of the Treaty of Union on January 16, 2007 coincided with a regular monthly press conference at 10 Downing Street. Asked why no major celebrations of the anniversary were being held, the prime minister, Tony Blair, replied that ‘the most important thing is not fireworks but ... giving a good reason as to why the union of England and Scotland is good for today's world and the future’. Several months later, the tercentenary of the Union coming into force on May 1 was overshadowed in Edinburgh by elections, the following day, to the devolved Scottish Parliament, which – aptly perhaps – returned a minority Scottish National Party administration. Seven and a half years previously, on July 1, 1999, the state opening of the new Parliament was choreographed to incorporate resonant echoes of the ceremonial ‘riding of Parliament’ before 1707, appealing to nostalgic notions that the Parliament was being reconvened, rather than created anew. This article provides an overview of Union historiographies three centuries after the Treaty of Union's enactment.