In recent years the study of history has become a central area of inquiry within anthropology. While classical anthropology focused on the present, current approaches seek to "do history" by using a variety of conceptual and methodological approaches. Approaching the Past is a highly provocative and original volume that examines the issues, themes, and difficulties emerging out of the new anthropological concern with history. Anchoring the discussion with a wide range of ethnographic case studies from Ireland, the contributors to this volume establish a sophisticated interdisciplinary dialogue and assess the degree to which anthropological concepts and methodologies can be applied to historical inquiry. With a variety of essays representing sociological, geograhical, and historical perspectives, Approaching the Past is an invaluable contribution to a discipline that is expanding and reconstituting itself anew.