Historiography is the study of, and the practice of, writing history. History is the result, and historiography is the method. History asks, "Why, how, who, when;" Historiography asks, "Why write history, how is history written, who writes histories, when is a history obsolete?"

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How do historians treat gossip?

How do historians deal with information that has no other sources than gossip? I mean facts (or "facts") that are not covered by primary sources, but are widely known from gossip. Usually this ...
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195 views

How many proofs does History require?

There's a well-known story about Andrey Kolmogorov. As a student his first choice of major was not Mathematics but History, and he wrote a serious paper on taxation of Russian serfs. He notices that ...
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187 views

Which sources should I believe regarding CV-8 Hornet? [closed]

According to wikipedia's The Battle of Midway, the Naval Carrier CV-8 "Hornet" participated in the Pacific theatre in 1942. Where could I find more confirmation on the Hornet?
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358 views

Is whig history generally considered to be 'bad' history?

I am new to history, but what strikes me is that people in the field often complain that a certain text is too much whig history. (See wikipedia for a definition.) It really seems like a critique, or ...
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110 views

Did Palmerston contribute to Louis Philippe's downfall?

I am reading this book and have come across a slightly puzzling passage on p. 154: [Palmerston] kept on good terms with Louis Philippe of France until he felt, in 1846, that Louis was taking an ...
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314 views

What is “discovery” in the historical sense? How do historians today view and describe “discoveries”?

I was taught in grade school "Columbus discovered America", "Captain Cook discovered Hawaii" etc, and I imagine many of us were taught the same. Obviously the term "discovered" here is problematic: ...
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460 views

How to validate a historical source

You can learn and understand history various ways such as learning in a university, reading books, being taught by someone with a background in history, watching TV, browsing the internet, or, in my ...
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3answers
132 views

Is there a common name for periods between Medieval and 19th century?

Time up to fall of the Roman Empire is called Ancient. The following 1000 years is "Medieval". Since Napoleonic times we can say it is "modern history". Is there a common name for the time between ...
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175 views

The Rosenberg diary and the functionalist-intentionalist debate

Today it was announced that the diary of Alfred Rosenberg was been found, after it had disappeared in 1946. Prima facie, this would seem to be a major piece of historical evidence for the ...
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1k views

How historically accurate is Les Miserables?

In essence, I'm asking about whether there are any historical inaccuracies in the movies/plays themselves. I'm pretty sure the book would have very few, due to the fact that it was written in a ...
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1k views

How do historians deal with Historical Bias?

A while ago while watching Crash Course World History, John Green mentioned how Alexander the Great died from the flu despite many people from that time claiming that he died in battle (because this ...
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270 views

How is history studied?

What are the unique and distinct features of the study of history in terms of: Epistemology Purpose Theory Method Methodology Does the study of history produce unique perceptions? Does the ...
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2k views

How is the discipline of History differentiated from other disciplines in social sciences or the humanities?

History is a discipline in the academy that is some times a social science and sometimes a humanity. However, there are many other social sciences (economics, political science) and many other ...
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What is the difference between a professional historian and an amateur?

Some historians appear to practice history professionally, in the sense that they produce histories that are accepted by other historians as "real" and "full." In this sense there is a profession of ...
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1answer
142 views

What are legitimate methods and sources?

How does a historian or an amateur determine what legitimate methods can be used and what legitimate sources are? Obviously there are many methods to read texts and speculate about political, social, ...
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1answer
416 views

What do historians do when there are no sources?

Historians rapidly come up against absence sources: the documentary record of the past is by its nature fragmentary, selective, partial and obtuse. What strategies do historians use when there are ...
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183 views

What is the nature of questions that can be answered by historical sources and methods?

What is the nature of questions that can be answered by historical sources and methods? Pay attention to the qualities of sources that inspire the nature of valid historical questions. Pay ...
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1answer
296 views

Who gave Charles the Bold his nickname and why?

I am talking about the Duke of Burgundy here. Wikipedia has a tantalizing footnote (n. 1): Charles le Téméraire is more accurately translated in English as "the Rash", but the English speaking ...
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2answers
974 views

Has history mistreated Nero?

Nero is (wrongly) "known" as the Emperor who "fiddled while Rome burned." But he did kill a number of prominent people, including his own mother. He is treated by much of history as a psychopath, and ...
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1answer
112 views

Did the Austrians win a “great victory” at Belgrade in 1738?

While researching the history of the Taaffe family (see also this question) I realized that a lot of the information about it in the wikipedia comes from a 1833 English noble almanach. Among other ...
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93 views

What scholarly positions exist evaluating Thatcher's competence and the desirability of her government's policies? [closed]

I am aware of a variety of normative accounts of the desirability of Thatcher's politics in the social domain; and of the broad opinions regarding her competence (generally highly competent, poll tax ...
9
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1answer
248 views

Who came up with the name “Peloponnesian War”?

If I understand correctly, Thucydides actually called his book just History. If that is correct, then at what point did it become known as History of the Peloponnesian War? EDIT: Here is how he ...
7
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1answer
177 views

The history of the idea that lack of moral censure leads to decline

"The decline of a civilization has long been linked, anecdotally, to less moral censure and a decline in manners (manners being self, usually-moral censorship)." (Brock Adams, commenting an earlier ...
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296 views

Horace Walpole on Richard III

Thus reads Wikipedia: In Historic Doubts on the Life and Reign of King Richard III (1768), Walpole defended Richard III against the common belief that he murdered the Princes in the Tower. In ...
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2answers
871 views

How do functionalists explain the fact that Holocaust continued until the very end of the war?

While I haven't read Goldhagen or scholars with a similar viewpoint directly, I frequently encounter the following argument that seems very Goldhagenite to me: "The Germans tried to murder Jews up ...
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1answer
1k views

Why was record keeping forbidden in Ancient Sparta?

in Ancient Sparta, record keeping and any kind of written history was forbidden by law. (src: http://history.stackexchange.com/a/5966/332 ) What was the rationale for such a law?
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124 views

Reception of Acemoglu-Robinson 'extractive institutions' thesis?

Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson believe that a great deal about the economic, social, and political life of a country can be explained by the quality of political institutions, especially the degree ...
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255 views

When did the use of fabricated speeches in historical works go out of fashion?

In his History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides includes a number of made up speeches based upon "what was called for in each situation". While this is frowned upon in modern histories, it seems ...
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1answer
171 views

Tolstoy's view of history

Tolstoy's view of history as propounded in his book "War and Peace" is that the forces that shape historical events are infinitely many and unknowable. He posits that a leader is in no ways more ...
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5answers
2k views

How accurate or supported is Jared Diamond's “Guns, Germs, and Steel”?

Jared Diamond wrote a fascinating book that purports to explain, in a very broad way, the development of civilization. It has several explanations for the development of Eurasian civilization rather ...
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Is there any research explicitly contradicting facts in Suvorov's “Icebreaker” book series claiming that Stalin intended to attack Hitler in 1941?

Viktor Suvorov is a somewhat famous ex-GRU spy who defected and wrote a series of books. The most (in)famous and sensational were a series of books on World War II, starting with "Icebreaker", which ...