By Alun Munslow

Please clarify why you consider and write heritage as you do?

Collecting jointly the responses to this question from 15 of the world’s most suitable historians and theorists, Authoring the Past represents a robust mirrored image on and intervention within the historiographical box.

Edited via Alun Munslow and offered in concise digestible essays, the gathering covers a huge variety of up to date pursuits and ideas and gives a wealthy set of reasoned substitute ideas on our cultural engagement with instances passed by. rising from an intensely fertile interval of historic suggestion and perform, Authoring the Past examines the diversity of techniques to the self-discipline that experience taken form in this time and indicates attainable destiny methods of considering and interacting with the earlier. It presents a special perception into contemporary debates at the nature and goal of heritage and demonstrates that after diversified metaphysical and aesthetic offerings are made, the character of the illustration of the previous turns into a question of valid dispute. scholars, students and practitioners of background will locate it a stimulating and useful resource.

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And here what struck me most was how ‘underdeveloped’ any systematic thinking – least of all any theoretical thinking – was in these areas. With the exception of the pioneering, methodologically-led Associated Examining Board’s A-Level Paper – the ‘AEB 673’ – most advanced history was stuck in the mire of an ingrained empiricism Geoffrey Elton would have been proud of. Little attempt was made to problematicize the discourse of history beyond the occasional nod to tried and tested, semi-ritualized ‘controversies’, whilst the postgraduate historians who I taught in the Institute – all of whom had good history degrees and often higher degrees too – displayed (with notable exceptions) not only a lack of interest in ‘theory’ but often an intense hostility towards it.

I think they sometimes see things they did not expect to see. I think we can sometimes see through them to something else. I do not think we live forever in a hall of crazy mirrors. Writing, Rewriting the Beach 25 References Crook, William Pascoe (1998) An Account of the Marquesas Islands, Papeete: Haere Po Tahiti (in press). Dening, Greg (1974) The Marquesan Journal of Edward Robarts, Canberra: ANU Press. ——(1980) Islands and Beaches. Discourse on a Silent Land, Marquesas 1774–1880, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.

No, there was as yet no thought of women but, in retrospect, I believe the groundwork had been laid. In this context, the dissertation topic I chose – on Jewish immigrant workers in New York City in the 1890s – seems to have been overdetermined. Labour history at the time existed largely as a subset of economic history. Generally located in economics departments, it was infused by little conception of culture. It drew its theoretical parameters from an institutional economics that respected the boundaries of enterprises, trade unions and government policy without exploring anything of the lives, experiences or voices of workers, male or female, black or white.

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