Since its founding twenty years ago the "Journal of Social History" has made substantial contributions to altering the way American historians look at and interpret their subject. It has served as a central outlet for new and exciting scholarship in social history, particularly European and American history but also Asian and Latin American as well. Under the editorship of Peter N. Stearns, the journal has published innovative work by many major American historians. "Expanding the Past" commemorates and highlights the achievements of the journal by republishing a selection of the most excellent articles that have appeared in the journal and that especially illustrate key features and trends in social history.
These important essays cover issues such as illiteracy, work and gender roles, the police, kleptomania, immigration, and domesticity. Topics such as the history of old age, the social history of women, and working class history are explored. The volume reveals how historians define and deal with the most recent phenomena such as disease symptoms, the integration of subject matter to conventional issues like politics, and an enlargement of the past to embrace new elements. This book is an introduction to looking at the characteristic topics, methods, and particular insights of social history.
Collectively, the essays represent some of the most vigorous and important work in this dynamic field of American historical research. They serve as an ideal vehicle for those readers who wish to further their understanding of this distinct approach to the past.