Historiography

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Topics

  • What is Historiography? 
  • Objective of Historiography
  • Need of an Expert in the Study of History
  • Historical Research Method and Stages of Historiography
  • Important Disciplines in the Historical Research

Notes

Historiography:

What is Historiography? 

  • The study of the writing of history and of written histories is known as Historiography. Historiography commonly known as the history of history is the study of how history was written, by whom, and why it was recorded as such.  
  • It considers the approaches used by historians and tries to understand how and why their theories and explanations differ. Though the past itself never changes, but our understanding and interpretations of the past – are always evolving.  
  • New historians explore and interpret the past through their own methods, priorities, and values. They develop new theories and conclusions that may change the way we understand the past. Historiography acknowledges and discusses this process of change. 

Objective of Historiography:  

  • To put the past events in chronological order and analyze 
  • To verify the authenticity of the collected documents
  • To ascertain the truth. 
  • History is generally written in order to commemorate and preserve the memory of past events.  
  • History is written with the motive of recording past events so that future generations could draw or learn lessons from them and thus avoid repeating the same mistakes.  
  • History may also be written in order to propagate or spread particular views, beliefs, and principles.  
  • History may also be written with the purpose of propaganda among the readers, such as glorifying the successes and achievements of kings or rulers.  

Need of an Expert in the Study of History:  

  • In the physical and natural sciences, the empirical method (laboratory method of experiments and observation) is used to verify the available knowledge. This knowledge is universal in nature.  
  • But while studying history, one can't use laboratory methods. This is so because we were not present in the historical time and space, and the historical events cannot be recreated. Also, in history, it is not possible to formulate laws that remain true irrespective of time and space.  

We can prove the authenticity of historical sources with the help of experts in the following fields: 

  • An expert who knows the language and script of a historical document.  
  • One can identify the period in which the writing and lettering style was prevalent. 
  • One can identify the type of paper used, the manufacturing date, and the age in which it was used. 
  • One who has knowledge of stamps. 
  • A historian who can scrutinize various historical references. 

Historical Research Method and Stages of Historiography:  

  • Collecting historical information, highlighting the processes that lead to historical transitions, carrying out a comparative analysis 
  • Examining relevant references of the available historical information 
  • Understand references regarding the time and space of the given historical events. 
  • Critically examine various sources of history. 
  • Formulating relevant questions in view of the historical references 
  • Formulating hypotheses 

Important Disciplines in the Historical Research: 

Archaeology, Archival Science, Manuscriptology, Epigraphy (Study of inscriptions), Analysis of lettering style, Linguistics, Numismatics (Study of coins), Genealogy (Study of lineage), etc.   

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