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Making Sense of History
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Evidence and Meaning
A Theory of Historical Studies
Translated from the German by Diane Kerns and Katie Digan
266 pages, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78533-538-9 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (May 2017)
ISBN 978-1-78920-500-8 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (October 2019)
eISBN 978-1-78533-539-6 eBook
“The English translation of Jörn Rüsen’s Historik is a major event in the global community of practitioners of the philosophy, methodology, logic or, broadly speaking, theory of history. Now ideas of universal value speak the universal koine…it is hard to find in all of academia a more suitable book for introducing in an orderly manner the metatheoretical results of 150 years of debates on the nature of history.” • Journal of the Philosophy of History
“This book is the late aggregate of numerous ground-breaking texts on the theory of history that Rüsen has published since the end of the 1960s. Rüsen has, in this book, pooled and consolidated many approaches to thinking about the theory of history… Reading and discussing Rüsen’s book… could be, for all history teacher students, one leg in their journeys to becoming routined teachers and something that they will gratefully remember after many years of professional practice.” • Public History Weekly
“Rüsen succeeds overall to fulfill the claim of a comprehensive fundamental synthesis. The openness and time-bound nature of a work should be understood as an invitation to develop further the theory of historiography. Rüsen himself has offered, and not only with this book, an important contribution.” • H-Soz-Kult
As one of the premier historical thinkers of his generation, Jörn Rüsen has made enormous contributions to the methods and theoretical framework of history as it is practiced today. In Evidence and Meaning, Rüsen surveys the seismic changes that have shaped the historical profession over the last half-century, while offering a clear, economical account of his theory of history. To traditional historiography Rüsen brings theoretical insights from philosophy, narrative theory, cultural studies, and the social sciences, developing an intricate but robust model of “historical thinking” as both a cognitive discipline and a cultural practice—one that is susceptible neither to naïve empiricism nor radical relativism.
Jörn Rüsen is Professor Emeritus of General History and Historical Culture at Witten/Herdecke University. He has also taught at the Universities of Berlin, Bochum and Bielefeld and was Director of the Institute for Advanced Study at Essen. His books and articles have been translated into twenty different languages. Dr. Rüsen is the Founding Editor of the Berghahn Books series Making Sense of History.