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History after HobsbawmWriting the Past for the Twenty-First Century$
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John H. Arnold, Matthew Hilton, and Jan Rüger

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198768784

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198768784.001.0001

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The Challenges of History

The Challenges of History

(p.3) 1 The Challenges of History
History after Hobsbawm

John H. Arnold

Matthew Hilton

Jan Rüger

Oxford University Press

What does it mean—and what might it yet come to mean—to write ‘history’ in the twenty-first century? This chapter takes its cue from Eric Hobsbawm’s capacious interests in subject and method to address a series of key challenges facing history writing today. It insists that historians must think about the implications of what they write as well as about the wider societal and political frames within which their stories will be received and understood. It addresses a series of challenges historians face when trying to make their work speak out beyond the discipline and the profession. These include the challenges arising from the increasing specialization and fragmentation of the discipline, from the difficulties of making such expertise speak to a broader audience, and from the particular circumstances of the present within which they must make their work relevant.

Keywords:   history, Eric, Hobsbawm, implication, challenge, specialization, fragmentation

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