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Is history a coherent story?

Authors
Publication Date
Keywords
  • Sociology
  • International Relations
  • History
  • Globalization
  • Philosophy
  • Social Psychology
  • Knowledge Management
  • Economics
  • Political Science
  • Philosophy Of History
  • Grand Narrative
  • Marxism
  • Neopositivism
  • Postmodernism
  • Zeitgeist
  • End Of History
  • Crisis Of Historicity
  • Capitalism
  • Socialism
  • 9-11
  • Occupy
  • Economic Crisis
Disciplines
  • Education
  • History
  • Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Religious Science

Abstract

Is history a coherent story? Is history a coherent story? Helena Sheehan The question Is history a coherent story? This is not the sort of question that is likely to be either asked or answered in the milieu I normally inhabit. In the universities of Europe and North America (and much of the rest of the world as well), the agenda has veered away asking such big questions. Academic attention is focused on much narrower and more practical concerns in a scenario where both teaching and research are more and more precisely aligned to the demands of the market. Commercialisation is the strongest force shaping the evolution of universities to devastating effect. Major academic disciplines, such as history and philosophy are being increasingly marginalised. In some institutions it has gone as far as abolition. In those institutions, where history and philosophy survive, there is not likely to be much attention given to philosophy of history either. History departments tend toward the small canvas rather than the larger one and historiography is a minority pursuit. The intellectual currents dominating philosophy departments, varieties of neopositivism and postmodernism, tend to repudiate big questions and historical narratives, even that of the history of philosophy. Postmodernism, with its proclamation of the end of grand narratives, has represented a crystallisation of this tendency. However, the prohibition on overarching historical schemes has been a feature of most other philosophical currents of the past century: logical positivism, linguistic analysis, pragmatism, existentialism, phenomenology, poststructuralism. Standing opposed have been the surviving grand narratives of the premodern era, predominantly those of the great world religions, such as christianity and islam. There has also been the formidable grand narrative of the modern era: marxism. These have been, not only under external attack, but subject to tenden

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