Thursday, October 16, 2008

Megill on history as discourse

"History is indeed a discourse, but it is more than that, at least if its practitioners want their work to be more than a collection of diverse bardic responses to the pains of people's historical existence or multiple attempts to celebrate the glories of our nation's past, whichever nation or would-be nation that is. One can certainly imagine historians becoming bards, blog writers, or hired celebrators. But if history were to become a multiplicity of discourses it is likely that historians' variant voices would drown each other out or not be heard at all. Surely some measure of disciplinary auctoritas - and the quality control of that goes with it - is required."

- Allan Megill, "A Review of Manifestos for History," Historically Speaking July/August 2008

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