Friday, August 17, 2012

Working Table of Contents for "The Power to Transform: Reflections on the Study of the Past"

Earlier this month I finished the manuscript for my next book, "The Power to Transform: Reflections on the Study of the Past."  (This is the working title).  Hopefully it will appear sometime next year with Baker Academic. 

I see the book as a short primer on the study of history.  My primary audience is Christian college students who are studying history, but much what I have to say is applicable to students of the past with other religious affiliations or none at all.  I also hope the book will be a resource for graduate students and college professors, especially those who are just starting to get their feet wet in the classroom.  Scholars, and especially those who specialize in historiography, will not find much that is new in this text apart from an interpretive synthesis of what I believe to be some of the best scholarship on historical thinking, the relationship between history and society, and the integration of faith and the historian's vocation.

I have deliberately made an effort to blend the theoretical and the practical in jargon-free, easily accessible prose.  So much of the scholarly work in historiography tends to be dense and impregnable to the undergraduate mind. While I have not avoided complex ideas at the intersection of history and theory, I have largely downplayed them in favor of an approach that students will find useful.  For example, I have devoted considerable attention to the way history can contribute to a healthy democratic society, how history can deepen our spiritual lives, and even how the study of history prepares one for a variety of careers and vocations in an ever-growing and expanding marketplace. 

I am eager to see how some of the ideas I mentioned above will survive the editorial process. In the meantime, here is my working table of contents.

Ch. 1:  What Do Historians Do?
Ch. 2:  In Search of a Useable Past
Ch. 3:  The Past is a Foreign Country
Ch. 4:  Providence and History
Ch. 5:  Some Christian Resources for Studying the Past
Ch. 6:  History for a Civil Society
Ch. 7:  The Power to Transform
Ch. 8:  So What Can You Do With a History Major

Stay tuned.