Historiography is an important concept to the academic study of history.
It is often difficult to define the concept of historiography, because it has at least two distinct meanings. Luckily, the particular meaning of the word in any given context is usually made clear by the way in which it is used.
The first meaning of historiography refers to the study of the practice of history itself. That is, it is not the study of past events, or history proper, but rather the study of how historians themselves, over time, have understood, recorded, approached, and conceptualized history.
It concerns itself with both issues of framework or perspective (e.g. is the historian a Marxist historian, a social historian, et cetera) and method (asking questions about the sources used, the motive of the historian in writing, the inclusions and especially the exclusions in content, and so on). Used in context, it could show up in a sentence that might read something like "Jane Doe’s historiographical perspective is that of a revisionist Feminist historian, concerned more with the journals of midwives than the edicts of kings."
It is an important concept to the study of history because each story is different, with unique foci, materials, and historical opinions: determining how the historian writing the work came to their conclusions is vital in analyzing them. The same event can be retold a thousand different ways, after all.
The second meaning of historiography applies more generally. When taking this meaning, the word is used to refer to an entire body of literature that concerns itself with a particular point in time or a particular historical issue and, or, point of view.
When used in a sentence, this meaning might be expressed like so, "Nineteenth-century historiography was largely concerned with political history: that is, it was the study of dead white men, particularly those who were politically important. Contemporary historiography is more concerned with social history, gender history, and the history of non-Western societies." This meaning is useful to historians because it allows them to invoke an entire body of work, easily and meaningfully.
In both cases, the term is a device that historians lean upon to describe the academic discipline of history. Because the ways in which history is studied and recorded necessarily impacts on the ways in which a culture understands their past, the concept is important to those concerned with academic history, and especially the importance or influence of history to and\ or, on society.
history proper – история сама по себе, в узком смысле слова
foci – мн.ч. от focus; фокус, центр, доминанта
body (of literature, work) – корпус (текстов, исследований)
issue – проблема, вопрос, пункт
contemporary – современный
invoke – вызывать, активизировать; апеллировать к
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