Postmodernism is the biggest thing to hit the History profession for almost 200 years. It offers a new intellectual foundation for understanding society, history, culture and psychology. Not limited to one creed or people, position or standpoint, it has in little over 15 years shifted all kinds of presumptions about the History subject and the historian's craft. The result is that postmodernism has had a tectonic impact upon understanding the past. This is the first dedicated primer on postmodernism for the History student. Written by an enthusiast, the book offers a step-by-step guide to postmodern theory, discusses how historians have used it in their research and writing, and assesses criticisms and ways of responding to them. Brown distils postmodernist theory down to an essence of six main themes of study, arranged in their order of evolution Z The Sign, The Discourse, Post/Structuralism, The Text, The Self and Morality.
After opening chapters surveying the essential principles of postmodernism and the legacy of the Enlightenment, it includes brief biographies of the leading theorists, usable definitions of key postmodern terms, and guides to further reading and online searches. Written in a clear and accessible manner, this book will: Demonstrate how postmodernism works for the historian and how the theory can be infused into what we all do. Enable students to use postmodern theory to critically assess history books and articles, and to construct personal essay, dissertation or thesis topics. Empower those frightened by postmodern theory and the very idea of it. Postmodernism for Historians is the ideal companion to courses on Historical Theory and Historiography. Designed for the beginner, written by an ordinary historian, and compelling your attention to the revolution in history-writing, this is the essential postmodern starting point for the student of History. Callum G. Brown is Professor of Religious and Cultural History at the University of Dundee. He teaches and researches in the history of community ritual, personal memory and secularisation.
He is author of The Death of Christian Britain (2000) and Up-helly-aa (1998).