This compendium of new essays on theory of history (rather than history's theory) is the very model of what a scientific handbook (an honorable scholarly genre which has been much degraded of late by commercialization) ought to be. The problems which motivated the interest in theory of history from the 1930s and 40s down to just yesterday have now been pretty much assimilated to a new lingua franca of metahistorical discourse. A new generation of scholars can now treat as what goes without saying many of the "undecidables" of the older generations' discourses. The essays display an openness to innovation and manifest a kind of authority which stand above both polemics and apologetics.
All of the relevant topics, themes, debates, methodological issues, and images of the "theory wars" are taken account of--I counted twenty-six such, from "linguistic turn" through "gender" and "postcolonial" to "fiction" and "causality"-- even-handedly, insightfully, and responsibly. The documentation is impressive, the footnotes pertinent, full, and informative, the bibliographies comprehensive. The whole bears the imprint of the scholarly styles of its editors, Professors Partner and Foot. Anyone who knows their scholarship will expect nothing but the highest standards brought to anything they study. I was most impressed by the way in which the essays taken as a whole extend the field of historical studies to include all of the other disciplines in the human, social, and natural sciences which take "the past" and not only "history" as objects of study. This is an indispensable Handbook for anyone who has a professional or even an "amateur" interest in the study of the past.
University Professor, Emeritus, of the History of Consciousness, in the University of California and Sometime Consultant Professor of Comparative Literature and German Studies, Stanford University
The editors have assembled a large and outstanding group of historians and other theorists who examine and represent theories of historical knowledge from every angle. The collection is comprehensive, scholarly, and full of new insights.
Professor Emeritus, Emory University
The challenges of the use of theory in history is analysed and interrogated in significant and exciting ways in this work. In drawing on the insights of leading scholars, this indispensible volume broadens the parameters of our investigation of the past and deepens our interpretation and understanding of historical knowledge.
Professor of History, University of Melbourne
Nancy Partner and Sarah Foot have brought together a comprehensive and up-to-date collection of essays on historical theory. The special feature is that more than half the contributions are written by working historians with their feet on the ground. The book will be invaluable both to students of historiography and seasoned practitioners.
Professor of History, University of Roehampton
This is an important overview and critical analysis of the present state of history writing. Starting with history's modernist foundations in the 19th century, the Handbook succinctly explains how the rise of postmodernism has brought about our present-day post-postmodernist predicament with its broad variety of historical genres.
Professor of German Historical Culture and Historical Theory, VU University Amsterdam and Amsterdam University College