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 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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2k views

Before the Land Bridge Theory, how was human presence in the Americas explained?

The Land Bridge Theory argues that humans crossed over to Alaska from Siberia, via a land bridge created by glaciation. The theory developed in the 1930s and became the popularly accepted explanation ...
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250 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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409 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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282 views

What are some indicators that distinguish pseudo-history from actual history?

It is sometimes hard for a layman to separate well-researched history from the writings of kooks (or what Mark Twain called "inspired idiots"). For example: my local library carries "A Secret ...
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927 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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348 views

Is there a definition of history separate from the definition of politics?

I encountered a problem to define something as "history", namely the determination of legal status of Kosovo. The action is so recent, I would say it more belongs to "politics". For my impression ...
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430 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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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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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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Did the Delphic oracle speak gibberish?

Wikipedia's article on the Delphic oracle says: The usual theory has been that the Pythia delivered oracles in a frenzied state induced by vapors rising from a chasm in the rock, and that she ...
9
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192 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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126 views

How can scholarly non-historians locate and properly use scholarly histories?

Non-historian scholars regularly have a need for dependable accounts of particular moments in the past. How can a non-historian locate and then best use scholarly histories?
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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 ...
9
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1answer
242 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 ...
8
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1answer
3k views

Did Hongwu Emperor flay 5000 women, and why?

On Wikipedia, there is a snippet that reads: The Hongwu Emperor flayed many servants, officials and rebels.[5][6] In 1396 he ordered the flaying of 5000 women.[7] The problem is that the second ...
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436 views

Does Chinese history really span the past 5000 years?

Chinese kids the world over are frequently taught that there is "5000 years of Chinese history". What basis is there for this claim?
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284 views

Is there contemporary evidence for the Roman Kingdom?

The early history of Ancient Rome is notoriously poorly documented. The Gaul Sack of Rome (390 BC) has destroyed much early written records. What evidence do we have that remains of the Roman Kingdom? ...
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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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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 ...
8
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290 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 ...
8
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1answer
170 views

Has the strength of the historical-archaeological method ever been tested experimentally?

Historians routinely draw quite far-reaching conclusions about all aspects of society from archaeological artifacts and textual documents that – naturally – represent only a minuscule fraction of all ...
8
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1answer
267 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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988 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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295 views

Where did the term “Radical Republican” come from?

Where did the term "Radical Republican" come from? I know that Radical Republicans is term for a group of Republicans in the early Republican party in the mid 1800s, but was the term used at the time ...
7
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188 views

Who were the “tyrants” that Charles Martel “crushed”?

The second chapter of Einhard says: It was this Charles that crushed the tyrants who claimed to rule the whole Frank land as their own, and that utterly routed the Saracens, when they ...
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181 views

Is the position of women as portrayed in the Mad Men series historically accurate?

I found similar questions about a game (closed as off topic), a play (7 upvotes) and a movie (9 upvotes) so I am unsure if this is an acceptable question for this SE. In the Mad Men series, which ...
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1answer
174 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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1answer
140 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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1k views

Should I trust a church history book that's more than 50 years old?

I found a history book (A History of the Christian Church, Revised Edition by Williston Walker) at my local used book store. It was copyrighted in 1959. Have there been any developments in research ...
6
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849 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 ...
6
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1answer
156 views

How do the kings and important figures in history get the titles?

What I mean by the titles is: Alexander "the Great", Julian "the Apostate", Henry "the Navigator" and so on. Do such important figures choose titles for themselves? Or do the subjects or historians ...
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352 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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308 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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290 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 ...
6
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1answer
116 views

Today, how accurate and balanced is Paul Johnson's book *History of the Jews*?

A History of the Jews, by Paul Johnson, takes an authoritative tone and is dense with citations. But its scope is enormous and it sometimes draws very strong conclusions. Given the state of the art of ...
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58 views

What was the Nove / Millar debate, how is it important to the historiography of the Soviet Union?

The Nove / Millar debate was a debate amongst economic historians in the 1970s, where the Western understanding of Soviet economic development in the 1920 and 1930s was seriously revised. In ...
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132 views

Counterfactual reasoning and analogical reasoning

This is a question on the historical method, or historiography. If it does not belong here, please kindly remove it and redirect me to a more appropriate place, thanks! I'm currently researching on ...
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108 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 ...
5
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173 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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92 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 ...
5
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1answer
167 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 ...
4
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3answers
551 views

Early modern vs late modern vs post modern?

I frequently come across these three terms, but I haven't been able to find a source that explains the difference between all three of them precisely. Here's what I think I know now: The early ...
4
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2answers
293 views

Is there a field of study which attempts to document historic experiences of ordinary individuals?

One of my interests is attempting to understand what human experiences were like for individuals in the past. I want to learn about their day-to-day lives, their fears, their aspirations and what ...
4
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1answer
130 views

A counterpoint/corrections list to “A Peoples' History of the United States”

I'm very interested in reading Howard Zinn's "A Peoples' History of the United States". I've heard it's a more honest of American history than most textbooks are. The strongest criticisms I've seen ...
4
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93 views

How are historical epidemiological studies done?

While growing up we were told in school that plagues, carried over by the Europeans, decimated the Native American population. We were also taught about the black plague in Europe and a few other ...
4
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1answer
178 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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72 views

How can the impact of moving the Brazilian capital be analyzed? [closed]

Around 50 years ago Brasília became the capital of Brazil. The distances between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro - where the biggest part of the population live - from Brasília are big enough to have ...
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151 views

When did ancient kings, tribes etc. started to think about becoming an own part of history and act accordingly?

This question is probably tricky to answer accurately. One possibility is probably to look when ancient people and societies started to be seriously interested in history of earlier tribes or started ...
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129 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 ...