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Refiguring History: New Thoughts on an Old Discipline


reviewed by Thomas O'Brien — 2004

coverTitle: Refiguring History: New Thoughts on an Old Discipline
Author(s): Keith Jenkins
Publisher: Routledge/Falmer, New York
ISBN: 041524411075 , Pages: 75, Year: 2002
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In this short 74-page book, Keith Jenkins builds on his critique of the discipline of history, and extends the discussion by calling for a new sort of history to provide for a radical, open-ended democracy without closure. Jenkins' earlier works -- Rethinking History (1991), On 'What is History'? From Carr to Elton to Rorty and White (1995), and The Postmodern Reader (1997) -- lay the groundwork for this book by arguing that it must be accepted that all histories historicize the past based on current cultural conditions. His 1999 book, Why History? Ethics and Postmodernity, then argues that acknowledging these bases and biases makes relevant a postmodern approach to history.  The feat of postmodern story telling, he points out, has been mastered and best illustrated by theorists such as Foucault, Badiou and Ermath. Unlike rank-and-file historians, these postmodern theorists have no loyalty to or investment in the discipline, and are correct, contends Jenkins, in not sensing much of a need for it.  Such an attitude allows... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 106 Number 2, 2004, p. 254-256
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11160, Date Accessed: 10/20/2017 9:20:17 PM

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About the Author
  • Thomas O'Brien
    The Ohio State University at Mansfield
    E-mail Author
    Tom O’Brien is Associate Professor of Education at The Ohio State University at Mansfield. He earned his Ph.D. at Emory University before taking a position at Millersville University from 1992-2000. O’Brien is the author of The Politics of Race and Schooling: Public Education in Georgia, 1900-1961 (1999), and has published articles and reviews in Journal of Negro History, Educational Studies, and History of Education Quarterly. He is currently writing a biography on Joseph W. Holley, founder of what is now Albany State University (GA).
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