Historiography for a Global Age: An Experiment from Istanbul on Classics and Contemporary Meaning

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This paper will propose a new perspective on the teaching of Historiography that will be based upon the Western as well as the Eastern Traditions of history writing. The paper is based upon the experimental syllabus of this author who has pioneered the teaching of historiography in Bogazici University that will be suitable for the culturally rich background of students in Istanbul. Standard approaches to historiography teaching are primarily dependent upon the grand narrative of the Western Tradition (Herodotus-Foucault) which is derived from our adoption of modern historical methodology globally that is basically of Euro-American origins. Historiography discussions that take into account Ancient Greek/Roman histories simultaneously with Ancient Chinese histories, or, the discussion of medieval to the Renaissance historical thought and writing styles benefit from in-depth co-eval incorporation of Muslim and East Asian texts of history. The paper discusses possible topics and texts that would serve such a "multi-cultural" approach to historiography. While the method has its drawbacks as it is based upon English language translations of Classical texts, it is in line with the familiar tradition of the Humanities where texts of antiquity and the medieval age as well as the early modern and modern have been taught in their English language translated forms in order to inculcate a sense of belonging to the Humanities tradition of the West. The paper proposes to enlarge that scope to that of the world.


Keywords: Historiography, Historical Thought, Historical Writing, Eastern Classics, Western Classics, Humanities
Stream: History, Historiography
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Prof. Selcuk Esenbel

Professor, Department of History, Bogazici University
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

Professor Selcuk Esenbel grew up in Turkey, United States, and Japan. Presently, she is teaching in Bogazici University since 1982 where she served as the Chair of the History Department between the years 1994-2003 and took the initiative to develop a globally oriented undergraduate and graduate History program. She has also pioneered Asian and Japanese studies in that institution. Esenbel also teaches occasionally in Fatih University on history and Asian affairs as a part-time instructor. Major publications in English include Even the Gods Rebel: The Peasants of Takaino and the 1871 Nakano Uprising (AAS Monographs, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1998); Japan's Global Claim to Asia and the World of Islam in The American Historical Review, 2004 October issue. Professor Esenbel has been the recent recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, Japan Foundation Special Prize, and the Special Award of the Foreign Minister of Japan.

Ref: H08P0610