Most important modern history

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ray245
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Most important modern history

Post by ray245 » 2017-04-05 03:34am

I thought we should have a place for discussing historiography, just to liven things up a little. While most modern historians ( from the 20th century onwards) are specialists in nature and it is always difficult to compare historians of different fields, I think we can have a personal list of most important historians.

Personally, I do have my bias towards ancient historians. Peter Brown is certainly one of the most notable ancient historians, by creating an entirely new field of study. However, he himself is influenced by a variety of great works such as Marc Bloch and Braudel. The Annales school has tremendously helped in breaking away from much of the traditional historiography and in turn influence many other schools of history.

What are some of the most important historians in the modern era in you opinion?
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Re: Most important modern history

Post by Gandalf » 2017-04-05 03:48am

I'll throw out the most cited of modern academics; Michel Foucault.
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Re: Most important modern history

Post by ray245 » 2017-04-05 05:27am

Gandalf wrote:I'll throw out the most cited of modern academics; Michel Foucault.
For a second I was about to say he's not a historian because of how many people from so many fields have cited him, then I remembered the titles of his books.
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Re: Most important modern history

Post by Gandalf » 2017-04-06 01:40am

ray245 wrote:
Gandalf wrote:I'll throw out the most cited of modern academics; Michel Foucault.
For a second I was about to say he's not a historian because of how many people from so many fields have cited him, then I remembered the titles of his books.
Yeah. He's one of those historians whose own works are not expansive, but has inspired so much more in other people.

I used to know a historian who would look at articles and ask "Where's the Foucault?"
"Oh no, oh yeah, tell me how can it be so fair
That we dying younger hiding from the police man over there
Just for breathing in the air they wanna leave me in the chair
Electric shocking body rocking beat streeting me to death"

- A.B. Original, Report to the Mist

"I think it’s the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately."
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Re: Most important modern history

Post by ray245 » 2017-04-06 08:44am

Gandalf wrote:
ray245 wrote:
Gandalf wrote:I'll throw out the most cited of modern academics; Michel Foucault.
For a second I was about to say he's not a historian because of how many people from so many fields have cited him, then I remembered the titles of his books.
Yeah. He's one of those historians whose own works are not expansive, but has inspired so much more in other people.

I used to know a historian who would look at articles and ask "Where's the Foucault?"
To be honest, I don't really know what to make of Foucault as a historian. His methodology might be commonly cited by historians and many other social scientists, but it's quite rare to see anyone cite his work for its historical study.
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Re: Most important modern history

Post by Gandalf » 2017-04-13 11:30pm

ray245 wrote:To be honest, I don't really know what to make of Foucault as a historian. His methodology might be commonly cited by historians and many other social scientists, but it's quite rare to see anyone cite his work for its historical study.
His greatest work isn't the historical study, but rather the methodology and work as an example for others. Look up some of his ideas,* and how they can be used to understand the past through a new lens. In that regard, it's similar to EP Thompson's Making of the British Working Class. One may not care for British history, but you can take the ideas and methodology and use them elsewhere.

*Biopower is one of my favourites here. It's a fascinating idea and really worthy of study.
"Oh no, oh yeah, tell me how can it be so fair
That we dying younger hiding from the police man over there
Just for breathing in the air they wanna leave me in the chair
Electric shocking body rocking beat streeting me to death"

- A.B. Original, Report to the Mist

"I think it’s the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately."
- George Carlin

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Re: Most important modern history

Post by ray245 » 2017-04-14 03:44am

Gandalf wrote:
ray245 wrote:To be honest, I don't really know what to make of Foucault as a historian. His methodology might be commonly cited by historians and many other social scientists, but it's quite rare to see anyone cite his work for its historical study.
His greatest work isn't the historical study, but rather the methodology and work as an example for others. Look up some of his ideas,* and how they can be used to understand the past through a new lens. In that regard, it's similar to EP Thompson's Making of the British Working Class. One may not care for British history, but you can take the ideas and methodology and use them elsewhere.

*Biopower is one of my favourites here. It's a fascinating idea and really worthy of study.
I agree that Foucault's methodology has a huge impact on how historians and how they have to critique some of the fundamental assumptions about the body and society. However, if we are to look at Foucault's books solely as historical narratives, some of the conclusions would have been helped by more primary evidence. This is why in my mind, I always tend to think of Foucault more of a political scientists than a historian.
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