What is Cultural History?

What is Cultural History?

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What is Cultural History? has established itself as an essential guide to what cultural historians do and how they do it. Now fully updated in its second edition, leading historian Peter Burke offers afresh his accessible guide to the past, present and future of cultural history, as it has been practised not only in the English-speaking world, but also in Continental Europe, Asia, South America and elsewhere. Burke begins by providing a discussion of the 'classic' phase of cultural history, associated with Jacob Burckhardt and Johan Huizinga, and of the Marxist reaction, from Frederick Antal to Edward Thompson. He then charts the rise of cultural history in more recent times, concentrating on the work of the last generation, often described as the 'New Cultural History'. He places cultural history in its own cultural context, noting links between new approaches to historical thought and writing and the rise of feminism, postcolonial studies and an everyday discourse in which the idea of culture plays an increasingly important part. The new edition also surveys the very latest developments in the field and considers the directions cultural history may be taking in the twenty-first century. The second edition of What is Cultural History? will continue to be an essential textbook for all students of history as well as those taking courses in cultural, anthropological and literary studies.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
  • Polity Press
  • United Kingdom
  • Revised
  • 2nd Revised edition
  • 9780745675244

Review quote

"Peter Burke has done it again! Outstanding scholar of early modern Europe, Burke has added an important work to his writings on the historian's craft. From its nineteenth-century origins, 'cultural history' appears here in its varied recent forms, shifting in its relation to social history, anthropology and literature, and changing its terms, concepts and targets. Both critical and generous, Burke suggests the paths ahead. This lucid book will delight any reader who wants to learn what contemporary historians are up to and where they might go."--Natalie Zemon Davis, University of Toronto "There is no clearer, more erudite, more humane voice in the field of cultural history than that of Peter Burke. This book is a delight, a tour in the company of a sure and steady guide to the ways men and women in the past have tried to make sense of the world in which they live."--Jay Winter, Yale University Acclaim for previous edition: "What is Cultural History? is replete with useful information. Professor Burke is excellent at giving the reader handy sketches of the ideas of Michel de Certeau, Michel Foucault, Orientalism, the representation of the body, material culture, and so on."--The Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory
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Table of contents

Acknowledgements vii Introduction 1 1 The Great Tradition 6 Classic Cultural History 7 Culture and Society 15 The Discovery of the People 17 2 Problems of Cultural History 20 The Classics Revisited 20 Marxist Debates 23 The Paradoxes of Tradition 25 Popular Culture in Question 27 What is Culture? 29 3 The Moment of Historical Anthropology 31 The Expansion of Culture 31 The Moment of Historical Anthropology 34 Under the Microscope 44 Postcolonialism and Feminism 47 4 A New Paradigm? 51 Four Theorists 53 Practices 59 Representations 64 Material Culture 69 The History of the Body 72 5 From Representation to Construction 77 The Rise of Constructivism 77 New Constructions 82 Performances and Occasions 93 Deconstruction 99 6 Beyond the Cultural Turn? 102 Burckhardt's Return 103 Politics, Violence and Emotions 104 The Revenge of Social History 114 Frontiers and Encounters 118 Narrative in Cultural History 123 Conclusion 128 Afterword: Cultural History in the Twenty-First Century 130 A Changing Scene 131 Cultural History and its Neighbours 135 Culture in Question 141 Notes 144 Select Publications: A Chronological List 163 Further Reading 168 Index 171
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About Peter Burke

Peter Burke is Professor Emeritus of Cultural History at the University of Cambridge.
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315 ratings
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