This original study explores the development of the postmodern turn in history, brought on by the social, political and cultural changes of the 1970s and 1980s. Challenging notions of certainty and objectivity, postmodernism has questioned traditional models and methods in studying history. A timely intervention in an increasingly contentious area, this book evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of postmodern history. Beginning with a brief account of historiography as an academic discipline, with its origins in the 'scientific historiography' of the nineteenth century, Willie Thompson charts the growth and development of the historical method in the twentieth century. He examines the impact of Marxist historiography, particularly in Britain and the United States, and the emergence of new approaches to history exemplified by the work of E.P. Thompson and others. In addition, Thompson assesses the impact of feminist, black and minority history.
Willie Thompson was until his retirement Professor of Contemporary History at Glasgow Caledonian University. His books, published by Pluto, include The Good Old Cause: British Communism 1920-1991 (1992), What Happened to History? (2000) and Ideologies in the Age of Extremes: Liberalism, Conservatism, Communism, Fascism 1914-91 (2011). He is currently vice-president of the Socialist History Society.
1 Introduction 2 Twentieth-century Historiography: the Emergence of ' Histories' 3 The Development of Marxist Historiography 4 E P Thompson and the Emergence of Social History 5 Feminist, Black and Minority histories 6 Causes: The Postmodern Turn 7 Consequences: History in the Aftermath 8 Oppositional Historiography and the Marxist conflict with Postmodern History 9 Conclusion: Strengths, Weaknesses and Agendas for the Future Notes and References Bibliography Index