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教学大纲


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翻译:吴向军(简介并寄信)
编辑:陈盈(简介并寄信)

课程介绍

这门课程的目的是使你们熟知二十世纪的历史学家研究过去时所使用的种种方法。我(其他人也一样)认为列表中的大部分书籍,,都是社会和经济历史领域当代一流或准一流的作品。我们将探讨这些历史作家是如何设想他们的研究对象,他们怎样运用第一手材料来支撑自己的论点;他们怎样组织叙述话题并进行分析性讨论,他们使用方法的优缺点是什么?

历史学家作为一个团体,使用各种各样的方法从事许多种类课题的研究。我们将主要关心这样一个问题:历史是否有规可循?历史学家有共同点吗?抑或他们仅仅是一群对过去有共同兴趣的人,随意地组合起来(不包括新闻记者、地质学家、古生物学家)。

纵览历史学家们所做的每一件事是不可能的,我所选择的作品着重于长时期的社会进程、普通老百姓的经历、共有的思维习惯以及精神生活的结构。它们不太关注伟大领袖(国王、王后、将军、哲学家、科学家)的重要性、对政治事件的简单陈述以及脱离当时政治和社会环境的理想系统分析。它们包容地使用相关社会科学(人类学、社会学和经济学)中的概念。他们的目标是重现生活在过去的每一个人的经历。他们特别关注藉藉无名的人、被压迫的人和穷人。他们试图通过集中关注国家(联邦)和其领导者之命运来超越历史学家们(和每一个人)的个人局限性。

这种历史研究方法论起源于20世纪初年鉴学派的法国创立者们:马克·布洛克(Marc Bloch)和路瑟·费弗尔(Lucien Febyre)(学派得名于他们创办和共同编辑的刊物)。自从该学派成立之后,年鉴派历史学家就对世界范围的历史作品发挥了巨大的影响。作为研究中国和日本的历史学家,我自己,也想强调这种方法论在非西方世界历史上的深远影响,特别是在亚洲。当然,其它许多趋势也影响和改变了年鉴派的范式。当年鉴学被引入到英国、美国或中国时,事情就并不一样。但是,随着时间的过去,沿循这种历史方法主题为我们提供了一种有用的方法,可把课程统一起来,并对跨越空间和时间的历史问题的共性作一些了解。

我们的重点在于结构、方法论和概念化,而不是特定的历史内容。相当大的一部分学习内容集中在近现代的欧洲(大约公元1500-1800)。你们还可以看到关于19世纪的欧洲、美洲和中国的描叙。我会鼓励你们阅读,关于那些你们熟悉或不熟悉的地区。你们没有必要了解一切,或成为其中一些地区的专家;关键是找出在不同的文化区域和历史时期中,研究历史方法作用的相似性。

课堂要求

  1. 每周阅读核心读本并准备在课堂中讨论它们。这些一流作品多数都是厚厚的一大本。我将给你们一些提示,以便你们找出对付它们的最好方法。(从第一页开始一直读下去几乎从来不是最好的方法。)

  2. 阅读或浏览至少一本补充书目中的读物,每周上课之前(最迟星期二下午)你们必须提交一篇一页的读后感(不是摘要,而是评论;有根据的论证最好,发牢骚和吹捧也可以,这些在辩论过程中很有用)。这主要是一门讨论课;我有时会进行一些简要的引导性授课,但我会尽力让它简短。为了公平起见,我自己也写一篇类似的读后感,或者长一点的东西。文章通过Email提交。

    而且,每周都会有一些人被选中作一次关于一本补充读物的口头报告:更大程度上,它可以是批评式的摘要,像扩展的书评。(参考《美国历史评论》或《纽约书评》中的评论作范例)。

  3. 最后,在学期末,你们需要提交一篇10-15页的论文。你们可以自由选择主题,但必须遵循下面两个方向中的一个。
    • 水平方向:探讨研究不同国家和不同时期时采用的某种历史学方法论的特性(其中必须有一个非西方国家)。例如17世纪法国和日本的历史人口统计学;20世纪俄国和中国妇女史。
    • 垂直方向:审视同一个历史话题的不同观点(法国大革命就是经典例子:从马克思主义、人民党党员、经济、文化、女权主义者以及许多其他方面的解释都是可以的。其他好的选择是英国工业革命、美国奴隶制、欧洲帝国主义)。无论你们选择哪个话题,都需要搜索文学上的重要作品,分析基本的相关问题,讨论其中采用的不同分析工具和材料,并评估不同方法的相对价值。你们甚至可以自由提出自己的意见,关于作品在这个子领域中应该怎么发展。我想,你们将会发现科学和技术在大多数历史学家的叙述中受到冷遇。想想它们应怎样被有用地被融入到一般历史中。

Introduction to the Course

The purpose of this course is to acquaint you with a variety of approaches to the past used by historians writing in the twentieth century. Most of the books on the list constitute, in my view (and others), modern classics, or potential classics, in social and economic history. We will examine how these historians conceive of their object of study, how they use primary sources as a basis for their accounts, how they structure the narrative and analytic discussion of their topic, and what are the advantages and drawbacks of their approaches.

Historians as a community pursue a huge variety of topics with widely disparate methodologies. A central concern of ours will be the question: is history a discipline? Do historians have anything in common? Or are they a rather random collection of people united only by a shared interest in the past (excluding geologists, paleontologists on one end and journalists on the other)?

It would be impossible to survey everything that historians do. The works I have chosen emphasize long-term social processes, the experiences of ordinary people, collective mentalities, and the structures of material life. They downplay the prominence of great leaders (kings, queens, generals, philosophers, scientists), the simple narration of political events, or the analysis of idea systems divorced from their political and social context. They share an openness to the use of concepts from related social sciences (anthropology, sociology, and economics). They aim to reconstruct the experience of everyone who lived in the past, and they pay special attention to the obscure, the oppressed, and the poor. They try to transcend the narrow boundaries inflicted on historians (and everyone else) by an exclusive concentration on the fortunes of the nation-state and its leaders.

This approach to history originated with the French founders of the Annales school, Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre, around the turn of the century. (The school is named after the journal which they founded and coedited) Since its founding, the Annales historians have exerted tremendous influence on historical writing around the world. As a historian of China and Japan myself, I also want to emphasize the significant impact of this approach on non-Western history, especially Asia. Of course, many other trends contributed to and altered the Annales paradigm. Things did not look the same when Annales topics migrated to England, the U.S. or China. But following the themes of this historical approach over time provides a useful way to unify the course and get some sense of the commonality of historical problems across time and space.

Our focus is on structure, methodology, and conceptualization, not on specific historical content. A sizeable proportion of the studies here focus on early modern Europe (roughly 1500 - 1800 A.D.). As you can see, there is also representation from nineteenth-century Europe, America, and China. I would urge you to read in areas with which you are not familiar as well as in home ground. It is not necessary to "know the facts" or become an expert in any of these areas; the point is to find out how similar historical approaches work in different cultural areas and time periods.

Requirements for the Course

  1. Read the core readings for each week and be prepared to discuss them in class. Many of these classics are large, fat books. I will give you some hints to devise the best way of tackling them. (Starting at page one and plowing straight through is almost never the best method.)

  2. Read or skim at least one of the works from the supplementary list. Each week you should submit before the class meeting (Tuesday afternoon at the latest), a one page essay with your reactions to the reading (not summaries, but critiques: reasoned argument is preferred, but gripes and raves are allowed). These will be useful in stimulating discussion. This is mainly a discussion course; I may sometimes give brief orienting lectures, but I will try to keep them short. To be fair, I will commit myself to producing a similar reaction paper, or something longer. Submit these by email.

    Also, someone may be assigned each week to report on one of the supplementary readings, orally: this can be more of a summary with critique, like an extended book review. (Look at reviews in the American Historical Review or New York Review of Books for examples)

  3. Finally, at the end of the term, a longer paper is due (10-15 pp). You are free to choose the subject, but you should take one of two tacks
    • "Horizontal": examine the characteristics of the same historical approach used in several different countries and time periods (one of these countries should be non-Western), e.g.: the historical demography of 17th century France and Japan; the history of women in twentieth-century Russia and China;
    • "Vertical": examine a variety of perspectives on the same historical topic (the French Revolution is the classic one: it is open to Marxist, populist, economic, cultural, feminist, and many other interpretations. Other good possibilities are the English Industrial Revolution, American slavery, European imperialism). In either case, you need to search out the major works in the literature, analyze the basic problematique, discuss the different analytic tools and sources employed, and evaluate the relative merit of different approaches. You might even have ideas of your own about where work in this subfield should go, which you should feel free to develop. You will find, I suspect, that science and technology get short shrift in most historians' accounts. Think about how they might usefully be integrated into general history.

 
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