History and Historiography

The word history comes from word historia which is a Greek word. Historia means inquiry or knowledge acquired by investigation. History is basically a study of human past and encompasses a wide range of subjects: event, general people, personalities, societies, economies, cultural practices and even their sexual habits. Thus, history covers a vast syllabus and history students need to learn and remember lots of things.

However the concept of historiography bit differs from the concept of Historiography is like a ‘history of history writing’. Thus it refers to the disciplinary study of history writing and how history has been understood by different schools of historian. Each of the different schools have their own concept and perspective of history writing. It is important for students of history to know all of these concepts and perspectives. Knowledge of all the schools of historians helps students in better understanding of the history. Apart from this it also decrease the sense of biases in students while writing any history assignment. However, this also increase burden of history student as learning about all this schools of history requires lots of knowledge as well as time. It also sometimes makes students confused about some historic events. For an example the viewpoints of Marxist historians are different from the other historians in the context of World Wars.

Schools of history writing

Greek historical writing:

Herodotus and Thucydides are credited as the fathers of the history writing. Thus Greek historical writing is also known as a beginning of the systematic history writing. Herodotus and Thucydides saw history as a product of choice been made by the humans rather than that of divine providence. History of the Peloponnesian War was written by Thucydides, which exemplified the historiographical approach of Thucydides in clear terms.

Christian school of history writing:

Primarily associated with Saint Augustine, the Christian school of history writing was influential in medieval times. This school interpreted history as the unfolding of divine will.

Enlightenment school of history writing:

In the 17th and 18th centuries history writing finally overcame from its overtly religious bias and took a scientific and rational outlook. This school of history writing was inspired by the philosophical writings of Hegel; this school emphasized the rational element for the interpretation of historical events, followed a linear approach towards history writing as well as performed the scientific analysis of historical sources. This school marked the beginning of a modern historical writing. This writing had less biases in comparison to the older historical writing. Apart from this the writing were more authentic in comparison to the older historical writing due to the scientific analysis of sources. One of the most influential historians of this school was Leopold Von Ranke. He had a significant impact on the writing of history for the historians of next generations.

Annales School of history:

Annales School of history is another significant school for historical writing. This school helped in popularizing the social history, thus brought the aspects of social history in broader context. This resulted in a significant impact on the history writing of 20th century. It also dominated the French historiographical scenario in the 20th century and underwent several successive generation shifts-

Prominent founder of the first generation were Lucien Febvre and March Bloch. The first generation was followed by the second generation of historians such as Fernand Braudel and Georges Duby. These historians focused on the importance of mentalities in the shaping of history. That is how human attitudes, point of views and thought processes have influenced history.

The third generation historians also emphasized writing history from the point of view of history. Some of the famous historians are Emmanuel Le Roy and Philip Aries. The fourth generation historians such as Roger Chartier started writing histories of culture practices due to the so called ‘cultural turn’ in history writing.

British Marxist social history:

By using Marxist methodologies, British Marxist social historians such as Eric Hobsbawm, E.P. Thompson and Christopher Hill offered a new concept of interpretation of history. This new concept was materialist interpretation of history by utilizing the Marxist methodologies. Historians of British Marxist social history show the history as a struggle between classes. In their context one class tried to dominate on the other classes throughout the history.

Post-Modernist conception of history:

After the World Wars another distinct category of history writing emerged. The historians were all inspired by the critique of modernity, although they did not formed any formal school of history. Historians emphasized the importance of fragmented understanding of the past, criticized the universal notion of truth and nullified the possibility of objective history. Examples of this kind of history writing is the French philosopher Michel Foucault’s classic works on histories of madness, crime and sexuality.

Plethora of other schools:

One of the examples is the Feminist history which seeks to unearth the hidden histories of women.  Another example is queer people and subaltern history which seeks to bring back into focus the histories of subaltern group of people such as tribal, workers, peasants and etc.

For the students of history it gets difficult to have a comparative knowledge of all these various school of history writing. Students also sometimes unintentionally exclude the study of some of the school of history. The knowledge of all these school of history writing is important for students to complete their assignment. Thus, students seek help from experts to complete history assignments. Students sometimes fail in giving enough time for the study of all these schools of history writing, it makes difficult for students to complete assignments on the time. In this case experts help in completing assignments on time as well as in good quality.

Areas of history

There are various areas of history and students of history have to concentrate on all these areas of history in their assignment. Following are the areas of history:

  • Political history: This area of history remained the favorite area for a long time, but now it does not have that much of importance. The reason for this is that there is enough work done on this area and nothing much is left to explore in this area of history. It focuses on political events, wars, political successions, kings, queens, struggles etc.
  • Social history: This area of history gained prominence with the Annales School and British Marxist social school of historians. It focused on the social habits, custom, practices etc., of humans. It seeks to answer that how common people tried to cope up with the historical changes, which led to impactful changes in them.
  • Military history: Military history is a bit different from the political history. Military histories studies wars, military strategies and changes in warfare technologies.
  • Economic history: Economic history combines perspectives from economics and statistics in order to understand that how changes in production forces led to the social changes and thus impacted on society.
  • Cultural history: Cultural history is the new fad in history writings. It became popular after the cultural turn in the second half of the 20th century. It follows a multidisciplinary approach in order to show how cultural experiences shape the human histories. Apart from this it also shows that how different cultures interpret historical experiences differently. It also shows that how myths and memories rather than formal history writing shaped our understanding of cultural part.

Stages of history

For a long period of time, history was divided into three mutually exclusive time periods namely ancient history, medieval history and modern history. The ancient period was seen as a golden period or golden age in which progressive and liberal ideas flourished. It was followed by a period of gloom and despair in the so called ‘dark medieval ages’. The age of enlightenment is said to bring back a period of progress once again. However the view on the stages of history differs in the perspective of different historians and different schools of history. The age of this stages also varies accordingly to the countries or historians, thus not all the geographical areas of the world had the same stage of history at the same time. Apart from this division of stage of history, there are also other divisions. Another division of the stages of history is done by the historians based on the stone tools used by the humans. These stages are broadly categorized into Paleolithic age, Mesolithic age and Neolithic age. Some historians have also divided the history into two stages which are Pre-historic age and Historic age. Pre-historic age is the period of history before humans learned to write and next in the historic period where people started to write.

Historicism: The new generation of historians criticizes the progressive notion of history and gives greater emphasis to cultural specificity, relativism and fragmentary nature of historical truth.

Regions of history: Modern history writing was an overwhelming Euro-American bias, most of the famous historians were European and they concentrated more on the history of Europe. They assumed that the broad socio-economic changes that took place in Europe must have also repeated in the same way in different parts of the world.
Post colonial histories: Post colonial histories criticize the ‘euro-centrism’ of history writing as well as tried to shift the historical attention to the colonies in order to rectify the euro-centric bias of history writings. There are number of interesting works have been produced on the different colonies of Europe. Following are some of the major areas of specialization.

  • South Asian history which focuses on colonial experience of British rule in India.
  • Latin American history which focuses on the experience of Latin American countries after the Spanish and Portuguese conquests.
  • African history which shows the development of the continent as a patchwork of nation-states after the colonial experiences.

Problems faced by students in completing history assignment

Students of history have to cover a vast area of syllabus in their assignment. Students need to have a keen knowledge of the areas as well as different schools of history in order to complete their assignment. However, it gets difficult for students to acquire knowledge of all these areas of history. Thus, they need to seek a help from experts in order to complete their assignments on time. DMG Solution provides assignment help in various fields of History at affordable rates. The experts of DMG Solution put all their efforts to customized the assignments of the students enriching it with relevant facts, theories, quotes and timelines.