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Western Historical Thinking: An Intercultural Debate

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Volume 1

Making Sense of History

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Western Historical Thinking

An Intercultural Debate

Edited by Jörn Rüsen

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222 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-57181-781-5 25% OFF! $120.00/£85.00 $90.00/£63.75 Hb Published (June 2002)

ISBN  978-1-57181-454-8 25% OFF! $29.95/£21.00 $22.46/£15.75 Pb Published (June 2002)

eISBN 978-1-78238-983-5 eBook

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“... a remarkably stimulating production, full of insights and observations that cannot fail to inform and illuminate. Although it would be an ideal text for the graduate seminar, it will prove valuable to anyone interested in the uses of the past.”  ·  Clio

“... [an] engaging, sophisticated and scrupulous study ... a strongly recommended, introspective and thoughtful compilation which would enhance any personal or academic philosophy or history collection.”  · Midwest Book Review

"... a strongly recommended, introspective and thoughtful compilation which would enhance any personal or academic Philosophy or History collection."  · The Bookwatch


What is history – a question historians have been asking themselves time and again. Does "history" as an academic discipline, as it has evolved in the West over the centuries, represent a specific mode of historical thinking that can bedefined in contrast to other forms of historical consciousness?

In this volume, Peter Burke, a prominent "Western" historian, offers ten hypotheses that attempt to constitute specifically "Western Historical Thinking." Scholars from Asia and Africa comment on his position in the light of their own ideas of the sense and meaning of historical thinking. The volume is rounded off by Peter Burke's comments on the questions and issues raised by the authors and his suggestions for the way forward towards a common ground for intercultural communication.

Jörn Rüsen was Professor of Modern History at Universities Bochum and Bielefeld for many years. From 1994 to 1997 he was Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) at Bielefeld. Since 1997 he has been President of the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities Essen (Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut). He specialises in theory and methodology of historical sciences, the history of historiography, intercultural aspects of historical thinking, theory of historical learning, and the history of human rights.

Subject: General History General Cultural Studies


Preface to the Series
Jörn Rüsen

Introduction: Historical Thinking as Intercultural Discourse
Jörn Rüsen


Western Historical Thinking in a Global Perspective – 10 Theses
Peter Burke


1. General Comments

Perspectives in Historical Anthropology
Klaus E. Müller

Searching for Common Principles: A Plea and Some Remarks on the Islamic Tradition
Tarif Khalidi

The Coherence of the West
Aziz Al-Azmeh

2. The Peculiarity of the West

Toward an Archaeology of Historical Thinking
François Hartog

Trauma and Suffering: A Forgotten Source of Western Historical Consciousness
Frank R.Ankersmit

Western Deep Culture and Western Historical Thinking
Johan Galtung

What is Uniquely Western about the Historiography of the West in Contrast to that of China?
Georg G. Iggers

The Westernization of World History
Hayden White

3. The Perspective of the Others

Western Historical Thinking from an Arabian Perspective
Sadik J. Al-Azm

Cognitive Historiography and Normative Historiography
Masayuki Sato

Western Uniqueness? Some Counterarguments from an African Perspective
Godfrey Muriuki

Programs for Historians: A Western Perspective
Mamadou Diawara

4. The Difference of the Others

Reflections on Chinese Historical Thinking
Ying-shih Yü

Must History Follow Rational Patterns of Interpretation? Critical Questions from a Chinese Perspective Thomas
H.C. Lee

Some Reflections on Early Indian Historical Thinking
Romila Thapar

Peter Burke

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