The Changing Face of the Past
The opening chapter addresses the basic concepts of history, historians, and historiography, providing definitions of key terms and critical information on the role and conventions of historians.
Subsequent chapters survey periods of history chronologically, adding philosophical context, and exploring the significance of varying viewpoints from the writers of the time. These chapters include:
- Beginnings: The Invention of History
- Roman History
- History in the Middle Ages
- Early Modern Historiography
- History and Enlightenment
- Historicism and Empiricism
- Into the Twentieth Century
As students read through the material they are exposed to some of the most important figures in the development of western historical thought, including Herodotus, Tacitus, Guicciardini, Gibbon, and Marx. They learn that history has never been the mere representation of past events. History can be purely pragmatic. It can be a moral enterprise. It can be an expression of culture. It can reflect the highest aspirations, and it can come from a place of crisis.
The Changing Face of the Past gives students a sweeping yet detailed introduction to important primary source material. It challenges them to consider what these writings say about the past and more importantly, what they say about history’s ongoing endeavor to describe, explain, and interpret it.