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On the Future of HistoryThe Postmodernist Challenge and Its Aftermath$
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Ernst Breisach

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780226072791

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226072814.001.0001

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A Look at Terms and Issues

A Look at Terms and Issues

(p.3) 1 A Look at Terms and Issues
On the Future of History
University of Chicago Press

In the decades leading up to the twenty-first century, scholars engaged in a postmodernism discourse that abounded with warnings about a crisis of, or challenge to, modernity and its views on history. A look backward to the last turn of a century revealed a debate among scholars filled with warnings of a crisis in historiography. In the late 1800s, Carl L. Becker and Henri Berr worried about the viability of history in light of what they saw as the more rapid modernization of the social sciences. They would be joined by Frederick Jackson Turner, James Harvey Robinson, and Karl Lamprecht in calling for and pioneering a New History. Their ideas, joined with those of historians who followed the pioneers, would supply the primary matrix for twentieth-century historiography. While these innovators and their successors would set different specific directions in their works, they all wished to change the ways of “doing history” toward what they considered a modern historical understanding.

Keywords:   postmodernism, historiography, history, social sciences, historical understanding, Carl L. Becker

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