Historiography: How historians approach their subject matter
The study of history and the methodology used in that process is
called historiography. In other way it has to do with when a particular
work of history was written. It has been said that every generation
reinterprets history through the lens of that generation’s experiences.
This is particularly true for the study of colonial and revolutionary
America. For the most part America history from the founding of the
Republic to after the Second World had a political framework.
However, since that time other approaches have come to the fore.
One of the most important of these got its start in France.
A recent publication details the history of the movement.
Burguiere, Andre, Jane Marie Todd, trans.The Annales School, An
Intellectual History. Ithica, N.Y.: Cornell University press, 2009.
Timothy Tackett introduction to the book:
A new approach to the study of history emerged in France in
the late 1920s around the history journal Annales d'histoire
économique et sociale. The Annales school, as it came to be
identified, grew to be the preeminent twentieth-century movement in
historical scholarship. Its bold agenda of a "total history" embracing
all the social sciences captivated historians worldwide. Numerous
Annales historians have gained international reputations, among
them the "founding fathers," Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre, as well
as Fernand Braudel, Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, François Furet,
Philippe Ariés, Jacques Le Goff, and Georges Duby.
In The Annales School, Andre Burguiére explores the origins
and evolution of this group that still widely influences the study and
teaching of history. Intimately involved in all of the publishing
decisions and direction of the Annales since 1969, Burguiére is
uniquely well qualified to write this intriguing story. Drawing on
firsthand experience and his own training as a historian, he offers
fascinating portraits of the key figures of the movement. He deftly
addresses such matters as the complicated relationship between
Bloch and Febvre, the engagement of the Annales school with other
historical currents such as microhistory and social anthropology, and
the school's gradual shift from the socioeconomic to the sociocultural.
He also steps back to assess the long-term contributions—and
failures—of the Annales school. Burguiére's account of the Annales
school, the first by an insider, is a major contribution to the study of
French intellectual history during the twentieth century, when French
thinkers played a large role in developing new approaches to the
social sciences.
http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/?GCOI=80140100972
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This is what Wikipedia has to say:
Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales is a French academic journal
covering social history that was established in 1929 by Marc Bloch
and Lucien Febvre. The journal gave rise to an approach to history
known as the Annales School. The journal began in Strasbourg as
Annales d'histoire économique et sociale; it moved to Paris and kept
the same name from 1929 to 1939. It was successively renamed
Annales d'histoire sociale (1939–1942, 1945), Mélanges d’histoire
sociale (1942–1944), Annales. Economies, sociétés, civilisations
(1946–1994), and, finally, Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales in
1994.
The scope of topics covered by the journal is wide but the emphasis
is on social history and long-term trends (longue durée), often using
quantification and paying special attention to geography and to the
intellectual world view of common people, or "mentality" (mentalité).
Less attention is paid to political, diplomatic, or military history, or to
biographies of famous men. Instead the Annales focused attention on
the synthesizing of historical patterns identified from social,
economic, and cultural history, statistics, medical reports, family
studies, and even psychoanalysis.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annales_School
Many American historians a have embraced this methodology,
particularly at Princeton University.
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The Annales School, An Intellectual History