Historiography for a Global Age: An Experiment from Istanbul on Classics and Contemporary Meaning
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
Prof. Selcuk Esenbel
Professor, Department of History, Bogazici University