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0120111114This week, The Essay marks fifty years since the publication in 1961 of What is History? by the historian E.H.
Carr.
Five academics consider the connection between Carr's work and their work today.
E.H.
Carr was born in 1892 and died in 1982.
He was a notable historian of Russia and a well-regarded writer on International Relations.
But What is History? remains his most famous work.
When What is History? was published it became arguably the most influential text to examine the role of the historian for a whole generation of budding historians, asking them to scrutinize the way they shaped the past.
Today, the book remains a key text for many historians who came of age in the 1960s and is still widely read by the present generation of history undergraduates.
But the book is also controversial and many historians find Carr's views outdated and dangerous to the practice of History.
In the first essay, Richard Evans, Regius Professor of History at the University of Cambridge, introduces Carr the historian and Carr the man.
Evans gives a crucial overview of the major theories of What is History? and the particular circumstances of Carr's life which contributed to the book's style.
He delves deep into questions about how the historian chooses which facts to present as history and places What is History in the context of the academic world of the 1960s, a world into which he was entering at the time.
For Evans, reading Carr was a revelation; Carr offered the new generation of academics, like Evans, the freedom to assess history in a wider-reaching, more interdisciplinary fashion.
In this essay he offers his personal take on Carr and how Carr's work has influenced him.
Producer: Katherine Godfrey
WHAT IS HISTORY, TODAY? is a WHISTLEDOWN Production for BBC.
Prof Richard Evans introduces Carr the historian and set his work in context.
0220111115This week, The Essay marks fifty years since the publication in 1961 of What is History? by the historian E.H.
Carr.
Five academics consider the connection between Carr's work and their work today.
E.H.
Carr was born in 1892 and died in 1982.
He was a notable historian of Russia and a well-regarded writer on International Relations.
But What is History? remains his most famous work.
When What is History? was published it was arguably the most influential text to examine the role of the historian for a whole generation of budding historians, asking them to scrutinize the way they shaped the past.
Today, the book remains a key text for many historians who came of age in the 1960s and is still widely read by History undergraduates.
But the book is also controversial and many historians find Carr's views outdated and dangerous to the practice of History.
In the second essay, Dr Elizabeth Buettner, Senior Lecturer in Modern British and Imperial History at the University of York, places What is History? in the context of decolonization and the decline of the British Empire.
She sees Carr's work as an historical document of this transformative time.
Buettner looks at Carr's work from the standpoint of someone who entered academia long after Carr had died in 1982, in a time when subjects like race, class, and gender history were the norm.
She therefore brings a perspective on the practice of History that is rather different to that of Carr.
Nonetheless she finds relevance in What is History? to her modern historical practices and finds Carr's work to be refreshingly progressive.
Dr Elizabeth Buettner places What Is History? in the context of decolonization.
0320111116This week, The Essay marks fifty years since the publication in 1961 of What is History? by the historian E.H.
Carr.
Five academics consider the connection between Carr's work and their work today.
E.H.
Carr was born in 1892 and died in 1982.
He was a notable historian of Russia and a well-regarded writer on International Relations.
But What is History? remains his most famous work.
When What is History? was published it was arguably the most influential text to examine the role of the historian for a whole generation of budding historians, asking them to scrutinize the way they shaped the past.
Today, the book remains a key text for many historians who came of age in the 1960s and is still widely read by history undergraduates.
But the book is also controversial and many historians find Carr's views outdated and dangerous to the practice of History.
In the third essay of the series, Amanda Foreman, author of the bestselling biography Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and the American Civil War history A World on Fire: An Epic History of Two Nations Divided, explores her personal feelings about the historian's role.
Where E.H.
Carr was preoccupied with studying the historian in order to understand the history, Foreman explains how endless theorising about the historian's role does not get at the historical truth - only by delving deep into the lives of those whose story you are telling, can the historian get close to the truth.
She sees the biographer as being particularly adept at this.
In her essay she scrutinizes her own methods and gives valuable insight into what makes compelling historical writing.
Amanda Foreman says theorising about the historian's role doesn't get at historical truth.
0420111117This week, The Essay marks fifty years since the publication in 1961 of What is History? by the historian E.H.
Carr.
Five academics consider the connection between Carr's work and their work today.
E.H.
Carr was born in 1892 and died in 1982.
He was a notable historian of Russia and a well-regarded writer on International Relations.
But What is History? remains his most famous work.
When What is History? was published it was arguably the most influential text to examine the role of the historian for a whole generation of budding historians, asking them to scrutinize the way they shaped the past.
Today, the book remains a key text for many historians who came of age in the 1960s and is still widely read by history undergraduates.
But the book is also controversial and many historians find Carr's views outdated and dangerous to the practice of History.
In the fourth episode of the series, Niall Ferguson, bestselling author of histories including Civilization: The West and the Rest, and editor of Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals, discusses the importance of asking "what if?" questions of history.
Ferguson finds much to be alarmed about in E.H.
Carr's work because of its dismissal of the field of historical enquiry known as counterfactual history, which presents "what if?" alternatives as a way of ascertaining the relative importance of actual historical events.
In his essay, Ferguson attacks Carr's work for its damaging effect on a generation of students who were discouraged from asking "what if?" and explores why it is so crucial that Historians use the counterfactual tools at their disposal.
Niall Ferguson discusses the importance of asking 'what if?' questions of history.
05 LAST20111118This week, The Essay marks fifty years since the publication in 1961 of What is History? by the historian E.H.
Carr.
Five academics consider the connection between Carr's work and their work today.
E.H.
Carr was born in 1892 and died in 1982.
He was a notable historian of Russia and a well-regarded writer on International Relations.
But What is History? remains his most famous work.
When What is History? was published it was arguably the most influential text to examine the role of the historian for a whole generation of budding historians, asking them to scrutinize the way they shaped the past.
Today, the book remains a key text for many historians who came of age in the 1960s and is still widely read by history undergraduates.
But the book is also controversial and many historians find Carr's views outdated and dangerous to the practice of History.
In the final episode of the series, Michael Cox, Professor of International Relations (IR) at the London School of Economics, discusses E.H.
Carr's influential theories on international relations and how they can be applied today.
Cox explains the international changes taking place when Carr was writing What is History? during the Cold War, when the power relationship seemed to be shifting from the West in favour of the Soviet Union in the East.
Today, Cox sees a situation occurring in which, once again, power is shifting from the West to the East but this time, it is China that is growing stronger.
In light of these developments, Michael Cox re-examines Carr's theories and finds them infinitely applicable to 21st century global affairs.
Michael Cox explains how Carr's views can be applied to current shifts in world power.

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