Tuesday, July 09, 2013

The business of the historian

"The elaboration and refinement of definitions is not the business of the historian. We can safely leave it to social scientists to build models of institutions or processes (capitalism, class, party, revolution) and, if they wish, to carry their models back into the past in search for phenomena which might seem to fit them. The historian should prefer to work more closely with his material and to be more responsive to the content of the categories employed in past time." -- J.C.D. Clark, Revolution and Rebellion: State and society in England in the 17th and 18th centuries, p. 3

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