A guide to finding historiographies in library databases, as well as a selection of recommended books on the topic.

The History of History

Historiography is often described as "the history of history."

A historiography focuses on how scholars have interpreted certain events, not on the events themselves. It identifies key thinkers and explains the evolution of the scholarly debate on a particular subject over time. A good historiography points out the influential books and articles that have shaped or revolutionized a field of study and shows the connections between major works. It looks at changes or revisions in interpretation based on reinterpretation of sources or the discovery of new sources. It explains the ideological perspective from which a scholar is writing (Marxist, feminist, etc.). Rather than merely summarizing a scholar's ideas, it provides an analysis of a work's argument, sources, and conclusions.

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