Re-Thinking History by Keith Jenkins


This is a higher education book looking at what history is.


History means many things to many people. But finding an answer to the question ‘What is history?’ is a task few feel equipped to answer nowadays. And yet, at the same time, history has never been more popular – whether in the press, on the television or at the movies. In understanding our present it seems we cannot escape the past. So if you want to explore this tantalising subject, where do you start? What are the critical skills you need to begin to make sense of the past? Keith Jenkins’ book is the perfect introduction. In clear, concise prose it guides the reader through the controversies and debates that surround historical thinking at the present time, and offers readers the means to make their own discoveries.

This is a short introduction book – only 70 pages. It is a bit heavy going however. Jenkins does not have an easy-to-understand writing style however I did get 6 pages of notes from this book. He looks at how history is written, the difference between the past and history, the debate about whether history is art or science and different discourses in history. This book is full of information and excellent for core university courses based on studying history.


2 thoughts on “Re-Thinking History by Keith Jenkins”

  1. Your point is well made.
    Today we have greater input heavily weighed toward disinformation, social engineering, and psyops than before, not that intentional twisting of events past were not a regular part of published accounts only the intense effort and volume of this activity is now overwhelming.

    The truth is hard to come by in all times, more so today.
    Critical reading of history is very important today.

  2. We live now in an era where we seem to be drowning in history. Books, films, television programmes, video games, radio and stage plays. From professional archaeology to acting. For me no bad thing. So let me explain I enjoy academic history, its philosophy and representation through entertainment even comedy. Not much different than the ancients. Unfortunately there have been an endless series of devastating events since then. Whatever political narrative you place upon them. I enjoy political narratives too. Which Keith Jenkins considers history to be one of. I enjoy all of these even if I disagree with some. Though with a few it is more through an interest than an enjoyment. In fact I tend to enjoy and be interested in such things in almost equal measure. The loss of foundations, disobedience, uncertainty brought about by violence, financial stagnation political spin has led to the fragmentation that Keith Jenkins wanted. It has also led to political and religious extremism in a world left barren by its own decay. That thing that wishes to see the end of a perceived enemy in the end inevitably leads to its own demise. Because what is it now for unless it can find new enemies. This has happened throughout the past to all cultures. Some just survive a little bit longer than others as well as some being more successful. This is my political narrative or at least part of it. We can never or do we wish to reveal our whole selves. In the end our future is just dust. As a past student of Keith Jenkins the measure of my thought if not that interesting has expanded and continues to do so and is of interest to me.

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