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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume V: Historiography$
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Robin Winks

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205661

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205661.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume V: Historiography

WM. Roger Louis

Oxford University Press

The word ‘historiography’ is used in the sense of the evolving or changing interpretations of the history of the British Empire. How did historians of the Empire go about their tasks and what were their assumptions? How were their accounts influenced by the political and cultural climate of their age? Above all, which of the historians of the Empire had the strength of intellect and personality to write works that have stood the test of time? This introductory chapter addresses itself to those questions through the historiographical revolution of the early 1960s. The issue of economic decline has been the specific Gibbonian theme applied to the history of the Empire. The focus of the present volume is principally on the work of professional historians since the 1880s. As this volume makes clear, the historiography of the Empire, as it entered a new century, was as rich and diverse as ever before.

Keywords:   historiography, British Empire, historiographical revolution, politics, culture, Gibbonian theme

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