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From Reliable Sources : An Introduction to Historical Methods

by ;
ISBN13:

9780801485602

ISBN10:
0801485606
Format:
Paperback
Pub. Date:
4/1/2001
Publisher(s):
Cornell Univ Pr
List Price: $19.95
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Summary

From Reliable Sources is a lively introduction to historical methodology, an overview of the techniques historians must master in order to reconstruct the past. Its focus on the basics of source criticism, rather than on how to find references or on the process of writing, makes it an invaluable guide for all students of history and for anyone who must extract meaning from written and unwritten sources. Martha Howell and Walter Prevenier explore the methods employed by historians to establish the reliability of materials; how they choose, authenticate, decode, compare, and, finally, interpret those sources. Illustrating their discussion with examples from the distant past as well as more contemporary events, they pay particular attention to recent information media, such as television, film, and videotape. The authors do not subscribe to the positivist belief that the historian can attain objective and total knowledge of the past. Instead, they argue that each generation of historians develops its own perspective, and that our understanding of the past is constantly reshaped by the historian and the world he or she inhabits. A substantially revised and updated edition of Prevenier's Uit goede bron, originally published in Belgium and now in its seventh edition, From Reliable Sources also provides a survey of western historiography and an extensive research bibliography.

Author Biography

Martha Howell is Professor of History at Columbia University Walter Prevenier is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Ghent (Belgium)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction 1(16)
The Source: The Basis of Our Knowledge about the Past
17(26)
What Is a Source?
17(3)
Source Typologies, Their Evolution and Complementarity
20(8)
The Impact of Communication and Information Technology on the Production of Sources
28(6)
Storing and Delivering Information
34(9)
Technical Analysis of Sources
43(26)
Clio's Laboratory
44(16)
Paleography
44(2)
Diplomatics
46(1)
Archaeology
46(4)
Statistics
50(6)
Additional Technical Tools
56(4)
Source Criticism: The Great Tradition
60(9)
The ``Genealogy'' of the Document
61(1)
Genesis of a Document
62(1)
The ``Originality'' of the Document
63(1)
Interpretation of the Document
64(1)
Authorial Authority
65(1)
Competence of the Observer
66(2)
The Trustworthiness of the Observer
68(1)
Historical Interpretation: The Traditional Basics
69(19)
Comparison of Sources
69(10)
Establishing Evidentiary Satisfaction
79(5)
The ``Facts'' That Matter
84(4)
New Interpretive Approaches
88(31)
Interdisciplinarity
89(20)
The Social Sciences
89(10)
The Humanities
99(10)
The Politics of History Writing
109(10)
The Annales
110(2)
The ``New Left'' and New Histories
112(3)
The New Cultural History
115(4)
The Nature of Historical Knowledge
119(78)
Change and Continuity
119(8)
Causality
127(16)
Causal Factors
131(1)
Religious Ideology, Clericalism, and Anticlericalism
132(1)
Social and Economic Factors
132(3)
Biology and ``Race''
135(1)
Environment
136(1)
Science, Technology, and Inventions
137(1)
Power
138(1)
Public Opinion and the Mass Media
139(1)
The Role of the Individual
140(3)
History Today
143(8)
The Problem of Objectivity
146(2)
The Status of the ``Fact''
148(3)
Research Bibliography
Contents
151(4)
Bibliographies, Guides, Dictionaries
155(31)
Additional Readings on Selected Technical Topics
186(5)
Basic Readings on Historiography and Theory
191(6)
Index 197


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