This broad survey introduces readers to the major themes, figures, traditions, and theories in Western historical thought, tracing its evolution from biblical times to the present. The volume comprises 24 chapters by leading historians who discuss conceptions of and approaches to the human past in the ancient, medieval, early modern and modern West, stressing the long-term patterns and traditions in historical thinking that survive to this day. Chapters range from overviews of eras in the history of historical thought, to discussions of new methods that historians have drawn from other disciplines and of new historical subjects, such as gender, sexuality, selfhood, and natural environments. The volume concludes with essays on contemporary challenges to classic, Western definitions of history that have emerged in global history, multiculturalism, post-colonialism, and new technologies. For students, this Companion provides the background they need in order to understand contemporary historical debates and approaches, while for researchers and teachers it will serve as a useful reference work.
Lloyd Kramer is Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His previous publications include Threshold of a New World: Intellectuals and the Exile Experience in Paris, 1830-1848 (1988), Lafayette in Two Worlds: Public Cultures and Personal Identities in an Age of Revolutions (1996), and Nationalism: Political Cultures in Europe and America, 1775-1865 (1998). Sarah Maza is Jane Long Professor of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She is the author of Servants and Masters in Eighteenth-century France (1983) and Private Lives and Public Affairs: The Causes Celebres of Pre-Revolutionary France (1993).