Writing History: Theory and Practice

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Horning , Anne Becker. Revision: History, Theory, and Practice explores the wide range of scholarship on revision while bringing new light to bear on enduring questions. Starting with its overview of conventional definitons and misconceptions about revision, whether surface or deep, Revision then offers both theoretical and practical strategies designed to facilitate post-secondary writing instruction. The twelve contributors examine recent cognitive writing models and the roles of long- and short-term memory in the writing process, demonstrating theoretically why revision is difficult for novices.

Revision pays close attention to the meaning and function of revision for various writers, from basic to professional, creative, and second language writers.

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Revision concludes with a detailed presentation of practical pedagogical strategies for teaching revision, with emphasis on revision in textbooks, technology-rich contexts, and peer review. Reflects on theory and method in the writing of social history via a survey of Foucault, Geertz, the annalles school, and neo-Marxism in relation to the writing of US historians. Lloyd, Christopher.

Writing History

Explanation in Social History. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, Lloyd analyzes the theories, methods and in particular the notions of causality peculiar to social history.

Concepts in Composition Theory and Practice in the Teaching of Writing

Raab, Theodore, and Robert I. Roberg eds. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Useful collection of essays from the Journal of Interdisciplinary History; see especially the sections on anthropology, and intellectual history.


DeBolla, Peter. Thoughtful review of the literary-historical theories of Hayden White and Dominick LaCapra see below.

Writing History, Theory and Practice.

Toews, John. Mediates interestingly between the rhetorical turn in recent intellectual history influenced by White and LaCapra and more traditional notions of historical writing. White, Hayden. The Content of the Form.

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Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ Press, Tropics of Discourse. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, White has been the most consistently provocative theorist of historiography in the last two decades. These two collections contain most of his important essays on the writing of history as inevitably subject to "literary" conventions and linguistic determinations.

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Gearheart, Suzanne. A review of Dominick LaCapra's work that provides a good introduction to the issues he raises in intellectual history. Jacoby, Russell. A harshly critical but appreciative survey of the work of White, LaCapra and others, immediately followed by a reply from LaCapra.

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  • LaCapra, Dominick. Criticism and History.

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    Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. LaCapra has continued and extended the critical work of Hayden White on the writing of history, particularly with regard to questions raised by post-structuralism.

    See especially the chapters, "Rhetoric and History," and "History and the Novel. Written partly in reply to Jacoby see above , this essays eloquently defends the linguistic turn in recent historical theory and discusses recent work in cultural history influenced by new theoretical paradigms. A collection of essays on a variety of 20th century theories and theorists including Sartre, Habermas, Foucault, Derrida, Jameson as they challenge the fields of intellectual and cultural history.

    Soundings in Critical Theory. Ithaca, NY: Cornel Univ. LaCapra attempts to define a "dialogical" concept of historiography that rejects both the extremes of objectivism and relativism, that acknowledges both the otherness of the past and the inevitable intrusion of contemporary theory and politics into the process of historical reconstruction. The first and last chapters are of most general interest. Bennington, Geoff and Robert Young eds. Post-structuralism and the Question of History.

    Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. See especially the essays by Bennett, Wordsworth, and Spivak. Boucher, David. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff Compares traditional and revisionist theories and methods in intellectual history. Hunt, Lynn, ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, Best, Steven. New York: Guilford, Searching examination of relations and tensions among three profound historical thinkers.

    Jenkins, Keith, ed.


    Chapter 1. History: Practice and Theory

    The Postmodern History Reader. London and New York: Routledge, Includes a variety of essays for and against "postmodern" approaches to historiography. Berkoffer, Robert. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, Draws on literary, rhetorical, multiculturalist, and feminist theories, and addresses the essential practical concerns of contemporary historians confronting post-structuralism, the New Historicism, the New Anthropology, and the New Philosophy of History.

    See also the American Quarterly Brown, Jennifer S. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, Interesting collection of essays that try to capture indigenous modes of passing on "history" that differ with and challenge Western modes of history writing. Return to Top. Genealogy of American Studies II.