Historical Consciousness & Mapping the Discipline

In “Historical Consciousness,” the goal of Gilderhus is to describe, with the evidence of books, how history came to become what we know of it now. One fact that seems to come up is that each writer seems to write not for what happened in the past but explain what is happening now and what they want for the future. In The Prince, by Machiavelli discusses politics and expresses how the government of the Medici’s are not the proper government and they can improve; later the case with Voltaire and his writing En Philsophe discusses the proper way history should progress as a study for the future and his contemporaries. Later Nationalist writings focus on building a unified history of a country to build a consciousness to create a nation or reaffirm its existence.

“Mapping the Discipline” by Jordanova at one point discusses how the title of which subsection of history can change depending on what the person wants to be in that piece of work. Thus, for example a piece on World War I could be a discussion on military, political, European, the theme of Nationalism, or even women’s history to give some examples. This could mean the content of history covers so much that often what your thesis is defines your, at that time at least, specific field of study in history. The country in which you study to become a historian decides whether you prefer theories or empirical based dimension’s to history, in general.

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