LUDMILLA JORDANOVA HISTORY IN PRACTICE PDF

Contact me Thank you for visiting this site, which I shall be revising and updating over the next few months. At present, the only pages available are this one, my cv , and my list of publications. CVAC was succesful in a grant application to the Leverhulme Trust, which is funding a doctoral programme in visual culture for which I am responsible. The third edition of my book History in Practice will be going to press shortly, and should be available in

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Should the Council have any desire that the vacancy should be filled up, I beg leave to [ To a reader of History in Practice , encounter with this historical incident would be more likely to provoke reflective comprehension than amused condescension. For as might be expected from a scholar who was trained initially as a natural scientist and then practised as a cultural historian of science in history departments at Essex and York before becoming Professor of Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia in , Jordanova succeeds admirably in her aim to place the practices of history in a wider disciplinary context.

Not only is she alive to the constructed nature of subject boundaries and their porosity, but also to the relatively recent date of their institutionalisation. What is of particular value about History in Practice , however, is that it seeks to build a bridge between the insight of Hayden White et al.

Moreover, it does so using a prose style whose conceptual crispness and clarity of exposition makes the book a genuine intellectual pleasure to read from cover to cover.

From this it follows that the practice of history should be identified not only with the archive, which has been the usual focus of reflections by historians on their craft from Mabillon to Marwick but with the written results of research and their audiences. Attention should therefore be focused on interpretation as much as on sources.

In her analysis, she is careful to emphasise that the strategies adopted by historians in order to interpret and mediate between sources and narrative are not sequential in a linear way that leads from scarcely intelligible and fragmented archival facts to a coherent narrative of events, with the historian as alchemist.

The very creation of archaeological evidence necessitates the teamwork and physical effort that make excavation possible and, incidentally, archaeology a media-friendly discipline since its practitioners can actually be seen to be doing something. By contrast, the image of the historian as a lone researcher beavering away in dusty archives and surrounded by weighty tomes in libraries is hegemonic not only outside the academy.

The current AHRB policy of inviting bids for Subject Centres has discomfited not a few professional academic historians, who see their individual working practices as correspondingly undervalued and under threat. In the eyes of such scholars, this development is merely an updated version of the, to their mind, equally misguided attempt by the cliometricians of the s to turn history into a social science of the past staffed by computer-bound teamworkers in white coats.

American one that specifically refers to the work of historians and archivists active outside the university context in, for example, the National Park Service, Federal Museums and private corporations as authors of company histories or keepers of company archives 5. The very title of the recent report on the future of the historic environment, which was commissioned by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport DCMS and undertaken under the auspices of English Heritage - Power of Place - is revealing in this context.

Even more pertinent are the presuppositions and results of the MORI poll which was undertaken to assist the authors of Power of Place in their work 8. In their summary to the Poll findings, the authors refer specifically to the personal nature of heritage, which specifically among non-white respondents tended to be defined in terms of non-built, cultural issues such as styles of dress and types of food. Meaning and value will be placed on something if it satisfies the individual in different ways.

Indeed, a central plank of her discussion of the topic centres on the importance of genre and other literary conventions for any understanding of the practice of public history. This first chapter provides the reader with appropriate tools with which to map the discipline of history ch. Perhaps the section of the book which academic historians will find most contentious is her treatment of the status of historical knowledge in chapter four. It follows from this that the nature and status of historical knowledge cannot be constants and that there are many ways of knowing.

Such high-mindedness certainly commands the assent and admiration of this reviewer, but I wonder whether it carries so much weight and assent in the highly politicised wider world of usable pasts that Jordanova has so adroitly sketched for us elsewhere in the book? Within the circumscribed world of academic historians I agree that such ground rules are pretty much taken for granted and indeed regarded as sacrosanct even at the level of the undergraduate essay. Even allowing for the constraints of the genre, Schama has singularly failed to draw the attention of the viewing public to the processes by which historical narratives are made not given.

Instead, the Kings-and- Queens, and All That storyline of the BBC History of Britain Show arrogantly presumes that the viewing public cannot cope with argument and a multiplicity of voices even as the MORI poll recently commissioned by English Heritage unequivocally testifies to the variety and sophistication of public engagements with their historic environment.

Jordanova has performed with considerable sensitivity and keen intelligence the valuable task of analysing the practices of academic history and the assumptions and values they embody. It is for us now to take up the ethical challenge she has laid before us and engage more fully with the public understanding of history.

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History in Practice

Should the Council have any desire that the vacancy should be filled up, I beg leave to [ To a reader of History in Practice , encounter with this historical incident would be more likely to provoke reflective comprehension than amused condescension. For as might be expected from a scholar who was trained initially as a natural scientist and then practised as a cultural historian of science in history departments at Essex and York before becoming Professor of Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia in , Jordanova succeeds admirably in her aim to place the practices of history in a wider disciplinary context. Not only is she alive to the constructed nature of subject boundaries and their porosity, but also to the relatively recent date of their institutionalisation. What is of particular value about History in Practice , however, is that it seeks to build a bridge between the insight of Hayden White et al. Moreover, it does so using a prose style whose conceptual crispness and clarity of exposition makes the book a genuine intellectual pleasure to read from cover to cover. From this it follows that the practice of history should be identified not only with the archive, which has been the usual focus of reflections by historians on their craft from Mabillon to Marwick but with the written results of research and their audiences.

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