21H.991J Theories and Methods in the Study of History (MIT)

The purpose of this course is to acquaint you with a variety of approaches to the past used by historians writing in the twentieth century. Most of the books on the list constitute, in my view (and others), modern classics, or potential classics, in social, economic and cultural history. We will examine how historians conceive of their object of study, how they use primary sources as a basis for their accounts, how they structure the narrative and analytic discussion of their topic, and what are the advantages and drawbacks of their various approaches.

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