Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Back in the Saddle and "Why Study History?"

My blogging vacation lasted a little longer than I expected, but I am back in the saddle. 

I used most of my Thanksgiving vacation to add 13,000 words to my forthcoming book.  Baker Academic has changed the title to "Why Study History?: Reflecting on the Study of the Past."  It will be a thin book--probably about 60,000 words.  My target audience is beginning college history majors. If all goes well in the editing process, it will be available next Fall.

Here is a very tentative working Table of Contents/Outline


Chapter One: What Do Historians Do?
  • History and the Past
  • The 5 C's of Historical Thinking
  • All Historians are Revisionists
  • Is Historical Knowledge Possible?
  • Summing Up
Chapter Two: In Search of a Useable Past
  • A Consumable Past
  • The "Presence of the Past"
  • The Inspirational Past
  • Escape into the Past
  • The Past Reminds Us Who We Are
  • The Past as Familiar
  • The Progressive Vision of the Past
  • Summing Up
Chapter Three:  The Past is a Foreign Country
  • Historicism
  • Empathy and Humility
  • A Case Study: An Encounter with Mormons
  • Summing Up
Chapter Four:  History and the Providence of God
  • The Doctrine of Providence
  • Providential History
  • The Light and the Glory
  • The Mystery of God and the Historian's Vocation
  • Summing Up
Chapter Five:  Christian Resources for the Study of the Past
  • Imago Dei
  • The Reality of Human Sin
  • An Incarnational Approach to the Past
  • The Role of Moral Reflection in Historical Work
  • Summing Up
Chapter Six: History for a Civil Society
  • What Does Democracy Require?
  • Our Current Malaise
  • History for a Civil Society
  • Summing Up
Chapter Seven:  The Power to Transform
  • History as Public Engagement
  • History as Love
  • History as a Spiritual Discipline
  • Summing Up
Chapter Eight:  So What Can You Do With a History Major?
  • Over twenty subtitles
Postscript: History and the Church

Appendix:  Proposal for "American History and a Civil Society"
  • Rationale
  • Vision
  • Implementation


Christopher said...

I'm excited to read the book when it comes out, John. Congrats on such a productive Thanksgiving break, too.

I'm especially intrigued by this:

"A Case Study: An Encounter with Mormons"

Can you say anything more, or do I have to wait to read it when it's published?

John Fea said...

If I give it away here I will lose my entire potential Mormon readership!

Jimmy Dick said...

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are looking forward to the Christmas season. I was glad to see you return to blogging as I have enjoyed the commentary and insights your blog contains.
I would like to know more about the 5 C's of history and your perspective on them. I look forward to your book in the future, but I'm beginning my teaching career at the college level in January (still waiting on a class assignment).
I've brought them up in other social media sites and have read a bit on them, but I would really like to see your thoughts on the subject. There is a current debate going on regarding the various fields of history on one site where some object to the studies of gender, race, and class. Here is the actual essay that has ignited the discussion.

I disagree with Mr. Gordon's opinion although I have not commented on it at that site, but at another college specific site. That debate seemingly has ended up with others disliking the amount of detail desired in history which I pointed out is a violation of contingency.

I have found that debates such as these are easier to handle when keeping the 5 C's of history in mind.