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What is historiography?

Historiography deals with the writing of history. In the broadest sense, it is the study of the history of history (as it is described by historians). Historiography has several facets, but for the purposes of a researcher trying to situate their work in the context of other historians' work on a particular topic, the most useful thing is the historiographic essay or review article that summarizes changing ideas about and approaches to the topic. A really good historiographic essay will also address why historians' ideas have changed.

Historiography reference

  • A companion to Western historical thought [electronic resource]. Edited by Lloyd Kramer and Sarah Maza. Oxford : Blackwell, 2006. 
  • Historiography : ancient, medieval, & modern. Ernst Breisach. 3rd ed. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2007.
    History Reference (SH). Firestone D13 .B686 2007
  • Encyclopedia of historians and historical writing. Editor, Kelly Boyd. London; Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1999.
    History Reference (SH). Firestone D14 .E529 1999
    This massive two-volume encyclopedia has authoritative articles on historians, the historiography of particular times and places, and approaches to the writing of history. There is good coverage of world history, as well as U.S. and European history. Suggestions for further reading are brief, but helpful.
  • Blackwell dictionary of historians. Edited by John Cannon. New York: Blackwell, 1988.
    History Reference (SH). Firestone D14 .B58 1988
    Outdated and Euro-centric, but still handy for the period before 1980.
  • The study of history: a bibliographical guide. Compiled by R.C. Richardson. 2nd ed. Manchester [England]; New York: Manchester University Press, 2000.
    History Reference (SH). Firestone D13 .R44 2000
    Well-organized and selective guide to books and articles on historiography. The section on the various approaches taken by historians in the 20th century is especially useful.
  • The Routledge companion to historical studies. Alun Munslow. 2nd ed. London; New York: Routledge, 2006.
    History Reference (SH). Firestone D13 .M47 2006
    A guide to the new approaches to history of the late 20th century. Arranged alphabetically. Very helpful for explaining the jargon of the new history. Good bibliographies, unfortunately presented in abbreviated lists with each article.
  • Dictionary of concepts in history. Harry Ritter. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, c1986.
    Annex A, Forrestal (TEMP) D13 .R49 1986
    Now outdated, but solid up through about 1980, and more readable than the above.
  • Censorship of historical thought: a world guide, 1945-2000. Antoon de Baets; foreword by John David Smith. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002.
    Firestone Library: Non Circulating (Fnc) Z657 .B135 2002
  • A Companion to the Philosophy of History and Historiography