Daedalus, Vol. 100, No. 1, Historical Studies Today (Winter, 1971), pp. 113-127.
Pierre Goubert provided a very informative history of the local history discipline within the European experience. This is particularly important because of the great clash with the famous Annales School and the French historiographical trend in the longue duree. This was the work led by Marc Bloch, Lucien Febvre, and Fernand Braudel, and had taken a long-term approach identifying larger social structures, as opposed to local events. The Goubert reading does not go into this matter except to note early-on that local history was despised by “supporters of general history” in the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century. In the second half of the twentieth century the tables turned and the local became academically fashionable again, and the idea of general world history was despised. In 2014 Jo Guldi (Brown University) and David Armitage (Harvard University) made the call for a return to the longue duree, particularly as a movement away from narrow specialisations which have taken hold of the profession.i The good news is that local history does not have to suffer in the shift to take long-term and general perspectives. The best of local history is the ability to illuminate the local as a place in regional, national, and international schemas. It harks back to the lesson seen in the Fridley reading, “Think Globally, Act Locally”.
i See http://historymanifesto.cambridge.org/ , accessed 1 May 2015.
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