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Who Are the Experts? Our experts are alumni of the world's top universities and colleges. The tradition of Korean historiography was established with the Samguk Sagi , a history of Korea from its allegedly earliest times. It was completed in and relied not only on earlier Chinese histories for source material, but also on the Hwarang Segi written by the Silla historian Kim Daemun in the 8th century. The latter work is now lost. In the Song dynasty official Sima Guang completed the Zizhi Tongjian Comprehensive Mirror to Aid in Government , which laid out the entire history of China from the beginning of the Warring States period BCE to the end of the Five Dynasties period CE in chronological annals form, rather than in the traditional annals-biography form.
This work is considered much more accessible than the "Official Histories" for the Six dynasties , Tang dynasty , and Five Dynasties , and in practice superseded those works in the mind of the general reader. The great Song Neo-Confucian Zhu Xi found the Mirror to be overly long for the average reader, as well as to too morally nihilist, and therefore prepared a didactic summary of it called the Zizhi Tongjian Gangmu Digest of the Comprehensive Mirror to Aid in Government , posthumously published in It reduced the original's chapters to just 59, and for the rest of imperial Chinese history would be the first history book most people ever read.
Historiography of the Philippines refers to the studies, sources, critical methods and interpretations used by scholars to study the history of the Philippines. It includes historical and archival research and writing on the history of the Philippine archipelago including the islands of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Before the arrival of Spanish colonial powers, the Philippines did not actually exist. Southeast Asia is classified as part of the Indosphere   and the Sinosphere.
The pre-colonial Philippines widely used the Abugida system in writing and seals on documents, though it was for communication and no recorded writings of early literature or history. The discovery of the Butuan Ivory Seal also proves the use of paper documents in ancient Philippines.
The arrival of the Spanish colonizers, pre-colonial Filipino manuscripts and documents were gathered and burned to eliminate pagan beliefs. This has been the burden of historians in the accumulation of data and the development of theories that gave historians many aspects of Philippine history that were left unexplained. During the Age of Enlightenment , the modern development of historiography through the application of scrupulous methods began. Among the many Italians who contributed to this were Leonardo Bruni c.
French philosophe Voltaire — had an enormous influence on the development of historiography during the Age of Enlightenment through his demonstration of fresh new ways to look at the past. Guillaume de Syon argues:. Voltaire recast historiography in both factual and analytical terms.
Not only did he reject traditional biographies and accounts that claim the work of supernatural forces, but he went so far as to suggest that earlier historiography was rife with falsified evidence and required new investigations at the source. Such an outlook was not unique in that the scientific spirit that 18th-century intellectuals perceived themselves as invested with. A rationalistic approach was key to rewriting history.
He broke from the tradition of narrating diplomatic and military events, and emphasized customs, social history and achievements in the arts and sciences. He was the first scholar to make a serious attempt to write the history of the world, eliminating theological frameworks, and emphasizing economics, culture and political history. Although he repeatedly warned against political bias on the part of the historian, he did not miss many opportunities to expose the intolerance and frauds of the church over the ages.
Voltaire advised scholars that anything contradicting the normal course of nature was not to be believed. Although he found evil in the historical record, he fervently believed reason and educating the illiterate masses would lead to progress. He helped free historiography from antiquarianism, Eurocentrism , religious intolerance and a concentration on great men, diplomacy, and warfare. At the same time, philosopher David Hume was having a similar effect on the study of history in Great Britain.
Hume adopted a similar scope to Voltaire in his history; as well as the history of Kings, Parliaments, and armies, he examined the history of culture, including literature and science, as well. His short biographies of leading scientists explored the process of scientific change and he developed new ways of seeing scientists in the context of their times by looking at how they interacted with society and each other — he paid special attention to Francis Bacon , Robert Boyle , Isaac Newton and William Harvey.
He also argued that the quest for liberty was the highest standard for judging the past, and concluded that after considerable fluctuation, England at the time of his writing had achieved "the most entire system of liberty, that was ever known amongst mankind".
Because of its relative objectivity and heavy use of primary sources , its methodology became a model for later historians. This has led to Gibbon being called the first "modern historian". Biographer Leslie Stephen wrote that thereafter, "His fame was as rapid as it has been lasting.
Gibbon's work has been praised for its style, its piquant epigrams and its effective irony. Winston Churchill memorably noted, "I set out upon Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire [and] was immediately dominated both by the story and the style.
I devoured Gibbon. I rode triumphantly through it from end to end and enjoyed it all. He said, "I have always endeavoured to draw from the fountain-head; that my curiosity, as well as a sense of duty, has always urged me to study the originals; and that, if they have sometimes eluded my search, I have carefully marked the secondary evidence, on whose faith a passage or a fact were reduced to depend. In accuracy, thoroughness, lucidity, and comprehensive grasp of a vast subject, the 'History' is unsurpassable.
It is the one English history which may be regarded as definitive. Whatever its shortcomings the book is artistically imposing as well as historically unimpeachable as a vast panorama of a great period.
The tumultuous events surrounding the French Revolution inspired much of the historiography and analysis of the early 19th century. The first volume was accidentally burned by John Stuart Mill 's maid. Carlyle rewrote it from scratch. He emphasised the role of forces of the spirit in history and thought that chaotic events demanded what he called 'heroes' to take control over the competing forces erupting within society.
He considered the dynamic forces of history as being the hopes and aspirations of people that took the form of ideas, and were often ossified into ideologies. Carlyle's The French Revolution was written in a highly unorthodox style, far removed from the neutral and detached tone of the tradition of Gibbon. Carlyle presented the history as dramatic events unfolding in the present as though he and the reader were participants on the streets of Paris at the famous events.
Carlyle's invented style was epic poetry combined with philosophical treatise. It is rarely read or cited in the last century. In his main work Histoire de France , French historian Jules Michelet — coined the term Renaissance meaning "rebirth" in French , as a period in Europe's cultural history that represented a break from the Middle Ages, creating a modern understanding of humanity and its place in the world. His inquiry into manuscript and printed authorities was most laborious, but his lively imagination, and his strong religious and political prejudices, made him regard all things from a singularly personal point of view.
Michelet was one of the first historians to shift the emphasis of history to the common people, rather than the leaders and institutions of the country. He had a decisive impact on scholars. Gayana Jurkevich argues that led by Michelet:.
Hippolyte Taine — , although unable to secure an academic position, was the chief theoretical influence of French naturalism , a major proponent of sociological positivism , and one of the first practitioners of historicist criticism.
He pioneered the idea of "the milieu" as an active historical force which amalgamated geographical, psychological, and social factors. Historical writing for him was a search for general laws. One of the major progenitors of the history of culture and art , was the Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt. His most famous work was The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy , published in ; it was the most influential interpretation of the Italian Renaissance in the nineteenth century and is still widely read.
According to John Lukacs , he was the first master of cultural history, which seeks to describe the spirit and the forms of expression of a particular age, a particular people, or a particular place. His innovative approach to historical research stressed the importance of art and its inestimable value as a primary source for the study of history.
He was one of the first historians to rise above the narrow nineteenth-century notion that "history is past politics and politics current history. By the midth century, scholars were beginning to analyse the history of institutional change, particularly the development of constitutional government.
William Stubbs 's Constitutional History of England 3 vols. The work traced the development of the English constitution from the Teutonic invasions of Britain until , and marked a distinct step in the advance of English historical learning. He believed that, though work on ancient history is a useful preparation for the study of modern history, either may advantageously be studied apart. He was a good palaeographer , and excelled in textual criticism, in examination of authorship, and other such matters, while his vast erudition and retentive memory made him second to none in interpretation and exposition.
Leopold von Ranke — at Berlin was a pivotal influence in this regard, and was the founder of modern source-based history. Specifically, he implemented the seminar teaching method in his classroom, and focused on archival research and analysis of historical documents. Beginning with his first book in , the History of the Latin and Teutonic Peoples from to , Ranke used an unusually wide variety of sources for a historian of the age, including "memoirs, diaries, personal and formal missives, government documents, diplomatic dispatches and first-hand accounts of eye-witnesses".
Over a career that spanned much of the century, Ranke set the standards for much of later historical writing, introducing such ideas as reliance on primary sources , an emphasis on narrative history and especially international politics Aussenpolitik. His credo was to write history the way it was. He insisted on primary sources with proven authenticity. Ranke also rejected the 'teleological approach' to history, which traditionally viewed each period as inferior to the period which follows.
In Ranke's view, the historian had to understand a period on its own terms, and seek to find only the general ideas which animated every period of history. In and at the behest of the Prussian government, Ranke founded and edited the first historical journal in the world, called Historisch-Politische Zeitschrift.
Another important German thinker was Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel , whose theory of historical progress ran counter to Ranke's approach. In Hegel's own words, his philosophical theory of "World history World history is the record of the spirit's efforts to attain knowledge of what it is in itself.
The Orientals do not know that the spirit or man as such are free in themselves. And because they do not know that, they are not themselves free. They only know that One is free. The consciousness of freedom first awoke among the Greeks , and they were accordingly free; but, like the Romans, they only knew that Some , and not all men as such, are free.
The Germanic nations , with the rise of Christianity , were the first to realize that All men are by nature free, and that freedom of spirit is his very essence. Karl Marx introduced the concept of historical materialism into the study of world historical development. In his conception, the economic conditions and dominant modes of production determined the structure of society at that point. In his view five successive stages in the development of material conditions would occur in Western Europe.
The first stage was primitive communism where property was shared and there was no concept of "leadership". This progressed to a slave society where the idea of class emerged and the State developed. Feudalism was characterized by an aristocracy working in partnership with a theocracy and the emergence of the nation-state. Capitalism appeared after the bourgeois revolution when the capitalists or their merchant predecessors overthrew the feudal system and established a market economy , with private property and parliamentary democracy.
Marx then predicted the eventual proletarian revolution that would result in the attainment of socialism , followed by communism , where property would be communally owned. Previous historians had focused on cyclical events of the rise and decline of rulers and nations. Process of nationalization of history , as part of national revivals in the 19th century, resulted with separation of "one's own" history from common universal history by such way of perceiving, understanding and treating the past that constructed history as history of a nation.
The term " Whig history ", coined by Herbert Butterfield in his short book The Whig Interpretation of History in , means the approach to historiography which presents the past as an inevitable progression towards ever greater liberty and enlightenment, culminating in modern forms of liberal democracy and constitutional monarchy. In general, Whig historians emphasized the rise of constitutional government , personal freedoms and scientific progress.
The term has been also applied widely in historical disciplines outside of British history the history of science , for example to criticize any teleological or goal-directed , hero-based, and transhistorical narrative.
Paul Rapin de Thoyras 's history of England, published in , became "the classic Whig history" for the first half of the 18th century. Whig historians emphasized the achievements of the Glorious Revolution of The most famous exponent of 'Whiggery' was Thomas Babington Macaulay.
His writings are famous for their ringing prose and for their confident, sometimes dogmatic, emphasis on a progressive model of British history, according to which the country threw off superstition, autocracy and confusion to create a balanced constitution and a forward-looking culture combined with freedom of belief and expression. This model of human progress has been called the Whig interpretation of history. It proved an immediate success and replaced Hume's history to become the new orthodoxy.
His legacy continues to be controversial; Gertrude Himmelfarb wrote that "most professional historians have long since given up reading Macaulay, as they have given up writing the kind of history he wrote and thinking about history as he did. Western wrote that: "Despite its age and blemishes, Macaulay's History of England has still to be superseded by a full-scale modern history of the period".
The Whig consensus was steadily undermined during the post- World War I re-evaluation of European history, and Butterfield's critique exemplified this trend. Intellectuals no longer believed the world was automatically getting better and better. Subsequent generations of academic historians have similarly rejected Whig history because of its presentist and teleological assumption that history is driving toward some sort of goal. Hart says "a Whig interpretation requires human heroes and villains in the story.
Popular history continued to be written by self-educated amateurs, but scholarly history increasingly became the province of PhD's trained in research seminars at a university. The training emphasized working with primary sources in archives. Seminars taught graduate students how to review the historiography of the topics, so that they could understand the conceptual frameworks currently in use, and the criticisms regarding their strengths and weaknesses.
The emergence of area studies of other regions also developed historiographical practices. The French Annales school radically changed the focus of historical research in France during the 20th century by stressing long-term social history, rather than political or diplomatic themes.
The school emphasized the use of quantification and the paying of special attention to geography. The goal of the Annales was to undo the work of the Sorbonnistes , to turn French historians away from the narrowly political and diplomatic toward the new vistas in social and economic history. An eminent member of this school, Georges Duby , described his approach to history as one that. The Annalistes, especially Lucien Febvre , advocated a histoire totale , or histoire tout court , a complete study of a historical problem.
The second era of the school was led by Fernand Braudel and was very influential throughout the s and s, especially for his work on the Mediterranean region in the era of Philip II of Spain. The Annales historians, after living through two world wars and major political upheavals in France, were deeply uncomfortable with the notion that multiple ruptures and discontinuities created history.
They paid special attention to geography, climate, and demography as long-term factors. They considered the continuities of the deepest structures were central to history, beside which upheavals in institutions or the superstructure of social life were of little significance, for history lies beyond the reach of conscious actors, especially the will of revolutionaries.
Noting the political upheavals in Europe and especially in France in , Eric Hobsbawm argued that "in France the virtual hegemony of Braudelian history and the Annales came to an end after , and the international influence of the journal dropped steeply. Scholars moved in multiple directions, covering in disconnected fashion the social, economic, and cultural history of different eras and different parts of the globe. By the time of crisis the school was building a vast publishing and research network reaching across France, Europe, and the rest of the world.
Influence indeed spread out from Paris, but few new ideas came in. Much emphasis was given to quantitative data, seen as the key to unlocking all of social history. Marxist historiography developed as a school of historiography influenced by the chief tenets of Marxism , including the centrality of social class and economic constraints in determining historical outcomes historical materialism. Friedrich Engels wrote The Peasant War in Germany , which analysed social warfare in early Protestant Germany in terms of emerging capitalist classes.
Although it lacked a rigorous engagement with archival sources, it indicated an early interest in history from below and class analysis, and it attempts a dialectical analysis. Another treatise of Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England in , was salient in creating the socialist impetus in British politics from then on, e. Tawney was an early historian working in this tradition. The Agrarian Problem in the Sixteenth Century  and Religion and the Rise of Capitalism , reflected his ethical concerns and preoccupations in economic history.
He was profoundly interested in the issue of the enclosure of land in the English countryside in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and in Max Weber 's thesis on the connection between the appearance of Protestantism and the rise of capitalism. His belief in the rise of the gentry in the century before the outbreak of the Civil War in England provoked the 'Storm over the Gentry' in which his methods were subjected to severe criticisms by Hugh Trevor-Roper and John Cooper.
Historiography in the Soviet Union was greatly influenced by Marxist historiography, as historical materialism was extended into the Soviet version of dialectical materialism. A circle of historians inside the Communist Party of Great Britain CPGB formed in and became a highly influential cluster of British Marxist historians , who contributed to history from below and class structure in early capitalist society. While some members of the group most notably Christopher Hill and E.
They placed a great emphasis on the subjective determination of history. Christopher Hill's studies on 17th-century English history were widely acknowledged and recognised as representative of this school. Thompson pioneered the study of history from below in his work, The Making of the English Working Class , published in It focused on the forgotten history of the first working-class political left in the world in the lateth and earlyth centuries.
In his preface to this book, Thompson set out his approach to writing history from below:. I am seeking to rescue the poor stockinger, the Luddite cropper, the "obsolete" hand-loom weaver, the "Utopian" artisan, and even the deluded follower of Joanna Southcott , from the enormous condescension of posterity. Their crafts and traditions may have been dying. Their hostility to the new industrialism may have been backward-looking. Their communitarian ideals may have been fantasies.
Their insurrectionary conspiracies may have been foolhardy. But they lived through these times of acute social disturbance, and we did not. Their aspirations were valid in terms of their own experience; and, if they were casualties of history, they remain, condemned in their own lives, as casualties. Thompson's work was also significant because of the way he defined "class". He argued that class was not a structure, but a relationship that changed over time.
He opened the gates for a generation of labor historians, such as David Montgomery and Herbert Gutman , who made similar studies of the American working classes. Other important Marxist historians included Eric Hobsbawm , C. James , Raphael Samuel , A. Morton and Brian Pearce. Biography has been a major form of historiography since the days when Plutarch wrote the parallel lives of great Roman and Greek leaders. It is a field especially attractive to nonacademic historians, and often to the spouses or children of famous people, who have access to the trove of letters and documents.
Academic historians tend to downplay biography because it pays too little attention to broad social, cultural, political and economic forces, and perhaps too much attention to popular psychology. The " Great Man " tradition in Britain originated in the multi-volume Dictionary of National Biography which originated in and issued updates into the s ; it continues to this day in the new Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
In the United States, the Dictionary of American Biography was planned in the late s and appeared with numerous supplements into the s. It has now been displaced by the American National Biography as well as numerous smaller historical encyclopedias that give thorough coverage to Great Persons. Bookstores do a thriving business in biographies, which sell far more copies than the esoteric monographs based on post-structuralism, cultural, racial or gender history.
Michael Holroyd says the last forty years "may be seen as a golden age of biography", but nevertheless calls it the "shallow end of history". Nicolas Barker argues that "more and more biographies command an ever larger readership", as he speculates that biography has come "to express the spirit of our age".
Biography Studies is emerging as an independent discipline, especially in the Netherlands. This Dutch School of biography is moving biography studies away from the less scholarly life writing tradition and towards history by encouraging its practitioners to utilize an approach adapted from microhistory. Marxist historian E. Carr developed a controversial theory of history in his book What Is History? Collingwood 's idealism, and rejected the empirical view of the historian's work being an accretion of "facts" that they have at their disposal as nonsense.
He maintained that there is such a vast quantity of information that the historian always chooses the "facts" they decide to make use of. In Carr's famous example, he claimed that millions had crossed the Rubicon, but only Julius Caesar's crossing in 49 BC is declared noteworthy by historians.
In this way, Carr argued that history was "an unending dialogue between the past and present". Carr is held by some critics to have had a deterministic outlook in history. In Carr's view, no individual is truly free of the social environment in which they live, but contended that within those limitations, there was room, albeit very narrow room for people to make decisions that affect history. Carr emphatically contended that history was a social science , not an art ,  because historians like scientists seek generalizations that helped to broaden the understanding of one's subject.
One of Carr's most forthright critics was Hugh Trevor-Roper , who argued that Carr's dismissal of the "might-have-beens of history" reflected a fundamental lack of interest in examining historical causation. Elton criticized Carr for his "whimsical" distinction between the "historical facts" and the "facts of the past", arguing that it reflected " As a traditionalist, he placed great emphasis on the role of individuals in history instead of abstract, impersonal forces.
Elton saw political history as the highest kind of history. Elton had no use for those who seek history to make myths, to create laws to explain the past, or to produce theories such as Marxism. Classical and European history was part of the 19th-century grammar curriculum.
American history became a topic later in the 19th century. In the historiography of the United States, there were a series of major approaches in the 20th century. In —, there were an average of 16, new academic history books published in the U.
From to the s, "Progressive" historiography was dominant, especially in political studies. It stressed the central importance of class conflict in American history. Important leaders included Vernon L. Parrington , Carl L. Becker , Arthur M. Schlesinger, Sr. Vann Woodward. Beard was the most prominent representative with his "Beardian" approach that reached both scholars and the general public.
In covering the Civil War, Charles and Mary Beard did not find it useful to examine nationalism, unionism, states' rights, slavery, abolition or the motivations of soldiers in battle. Instead, they proclaimed it was a:. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. His own views were clear enough: "Moved typically by personal and class, rarely by public, considerations, the business community has invariably brought national affairs to a state of crisis and exasperated the rest of society into dissatisfaction bordering on revolt.
Consensus history emphasizes the basic unity of American values and downplays conflict as superficial. It was especially attractive in the s and s. The fierceness of the political struggles has often been misleading: for the range of vision embraced by the primary contestants in the major parties has always been bounded by the horizons of property and enterprise. However much at odds on specific issues, the major political traditions have shared a belief in the rights of property, the philosophy of economic individualism, the value of competition; they have accepted the economic virtues of capitalist culture as necessary qualities of man.
Consensus history was rejected by New Left viewpoints that attracted a younger generation of radical historians in the s. These viewpoints stress conflict and emphasize the central roles of class, race and gender. The history of dissent, and the experiences of racial minorities and disadvantaged classes was central to the narratives produced by New Left historians.
Social history , sometimes called the "new social history", is a broad branch that studies the experiences of ordinary people in the past. However, after the "cultural turn" directed the next generation to new topics. The growth was enabled by the social sciences, computers, statistics, new data sources such as individual census information, and summer training programs at the Newberry Library and the University of Michigan.
The New Political History saw the application of social history methods to politics, as the focus shifted from politicians and legislation to voters and elections. The Social Science History Association was formed in as an interdisciplinary group with a journal Social Science History and an annual convention. The goal was to incorporate in historical studies perspectives from all the social sciences, especially political science, sociology and economics.
The pioneers shared a commitment to quantification. However, by the s the first blush of quantification had worn off, as traditional historians counterattacked. Harvey J. Graff says:. The case against the new mixed and confused a lengthy list of ingredients, including the following: history's supposed loss of identity and humanity in the stain of social science, the fear of subordinating quality to quantity, conceptual and technical fallacies, violation of the literary character and biographical base of "good" history rhetorical and aesthetic concern , loss of audiences, derogation of history rooted in "great men" and "great events", trivialization in general, a hodgepodge of ideological objections from all directions, and a fear that new historians were reaping research funds that might otherwise come to their detractors.
To defenders of history as they knew it, the discipline was in crisis, and the pursuit of the new was a major cause. Meanwhile, quantitative history became well-established in other disciplines, especially economics where they called it "cliometrics" , as well as in political science. In history, however, quantification remained central to demographic studies, but slipped behind in political and social history as traditional narrative approaches made a comeback.
Professional historians pioneered the creation of this field, starting in the late nineteenth century. Relatively few works span the two eras and few works except textbooks unite Spanish America and Brazil. There is a tendency to focus on histories of particular countries or regions the Andes, the Southern Cone, the Caribbean with relatively little comparative work.
Historians of Latin America have contributed to various types of historical writing, but one major, innovative development in Spanish American history is the emergence of ethnohistory , the history of indigenous peoples, especially in Mexico based on alphabetic sources in Spanish or in indigenous languages.
For the early modern period, the emergence of Atlantic history , based on comparisons and linkages of Europe, the Americas, and Africa from — that developed as a field in its own right has integrated early modern Latin American history into a larger framework. Latin America's importance to world history is notable but often overlooked. The second, and related, trend consistently considered a threshold of modern history that saw Latin America in the forefront is the development of nation-states.
Historical research appears in a number of specialized journals. These include Hispanic American Historical Review est. Latin American Research Review est. General works on Latin American history have appeared since the s, when the teaching of Latin American history expanded in U. An important, eleven volume treatment of Latin American history is The Cambridge History of Latin America , with separate volumes on the colonial era, nineteenth century, and the twentieth century.
World history , as a distinct field of historical study, emerged as an independent academic field in the s. It focused on the examination of history from a global perspective and looked for common patterns that emerged across all cultures. The basic thematic approach of this field was to analyse two major focal points: integration — how processes of world history have drawn people of the world together , and difference — how patterns of world history reveal the diversity of the human experience.
Arnold J. Toynbee 's ten-volume A Study of History , took an approach that was widely discussed in the s and s. By the s his work was virtually ignored by scholars and the general public. He compared 26 independent civilizations and argued that they displayed striking parallels in their origin, growth, and decay.
He proposed a universal model to each of these civilizations, detailing the stages through which they all pass: genesis, growth, time of troubles, universal state, and disintegration. The later volumes gave too much emphasis on spirituality to satisfy critics. Chicago historian William H. McNeill wrote The Rise of the West to show how the separate civilizations of Eurasia interacted from the very beginning of their history, borrowing critical skills from one another, and thus precipitating still further change as adjustment between traditional old and borrowed new knowledge and practice became necessary.
He then discusses the dramatic effect of Western civilization on others in the past years of history. McNeill took a broad approach organized around the interactions of peoples across the globe. Such interactions have become both more numerous and more continual and substantial in recent times. Before about , the network of communication between cultures was that of Eurasia. The term for these areas of interaction differ from one world historian to another and include world-system and ecumene.
His emphasis on cultural fusions influenced historical theory significantly. The "cultural turn" of the s and s affected scholars in most areas of history. The British historian Peter Burke finds that cultural studies has numerous spinoffs, or topical themes it has strongly influenced.
The most important include gender studies and postcolonial studies , as well as memory studies, and film studies. Diplomatic historian Melvyn P. Leffler finds that the problem with the "cultural turn" is that the culture concept is imprecise, and may produce excessively broad interpretations, because it:.
The malleability of culture suggest to me that in order to understand its effect on policy, one needs also to study the dynamics of political economy, the evolution of the international system, and the roles of technology and communication, among many other variables.
Memory studies is a new field, focused on how nations and groups and historians construct and select their memories of the past in order to celebrate or denounce key features, thus making a statement of their current values and beliefs.
Many historians examine how the memory of the past has been constructed, memorialized or distorted. Historians examine how legends are invented. Scholars have raised entirely new questions regarding military occupation, radicalization of politics, race, and the male body. Representative of recent scholarship is a collection of studies on the "Dynamics of Memory and Identity in Contemporary Europe".
As a result of these racialized constructions and the conceptual separation of Africa, darker skinned North Africans, such as the so-called Haratin , who have long resided in the Maghreb , and do not reside south of Saharan Africa, have become analogically alienated from their indigeneity and historic reality in North Africa. The Saadian invasion of the Songhai Empire serves as the precursor to later narratives that grouped darker skinned Maghrebians together and identified their origins as being Sub-Saharan West Africa.
As opposed to having been developed through field research, the analogy in the present-day European Africanist paradigm, which conceptually alienates, dehistoricizes, and denaturalizes darker skinned North Africans in North Africa and darker skinned Africans throughout the Islamic world at-large, is primarily rooted in an Americanized textual tradition inherited from 19th century European Christian abolitionists.
The trans-Saharan slave trade has been used as a literary device in narratives that analogically explain the origins of darker skinned North Africans in North Africa and the Islamic world. Despite being an inherited part of the 19th century religious polemical narratives, the use of race in the secularist narrative of the present-day European Africanist paradigm has given the paradigm an appearance of possessing scientific quality.
Due to a lack of considerable development in field research regarding enslavement in Islamic societies, this has resulted in the present-day European Africanist paradigm relying on unreliable estimates for the trans-Saharan slave trade. Merolla  has indicated that the academic study of Sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa by Europeans developed with North Africa being conceptually subsumed within the Middle East and Arab world , whereas, the study of Sub-Saharan Africa was viewed as conceptually distinct from North Africa, and as its own region, viewed as inherently the same.
The Sahara has served as a trans-regional zone for peoples in Africa. In African and Berber literary studies, scholarship has remained largely separate from one another. Despite having invoked and utilized identities in reference to the racialized conceptualizations of Africa e.