Cambridge University Press has just published a new book called The History Manifesto by Jo Guldi (Assistant Professor, Brown University) and David Armitage (Chair of Harvard’s History Department). In a nutshell, the book argues that historians have lost their public relevance by writing histories of the “short term” — essentially “micro-scale” histories — when they could be writing bigger, deeper histories, covering longer periods of time, that help readers put our world into perspective. What Guldi and Armitage are calling for is a return to long, meaningful narratives and big-picture thinking — the kind of thinking that could perhaps pull the historical profession out of crisis. As someone who got his PhD in History during the “micro-scale” era, all I can say is — amen to that.
Print editions of The History Manifesto will come out in November. But you can already read the entire work online in both html and PDF formats. The book has been released under a Creative Commons license.