What's the Big Idea? Intellectual History and the Longue Durée
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CitationArmitage, David. 2012. What's the big idea? Intellectual history and the longue durée. History of European Ideas 38(4): 493-507.
AbstractHistorians of all kinds are beginning to return to temporally expansive studies after decades of aversion and neglect. There are even signs that intellectual historians are returning to the longue durée. What are the reasons for this revival of long-range intellectual history? And how might it be rendered methodologically robust as well as historically compelling? This article proposes a model of transtemporal history, proceeding via serial contextualism to create a history in ideas spanning centuries, even millennia: key examples come from work in progress on ideas of civil war from ancient Rome to the present. The article concludes with brief reflections on the potential impact of the digital humanities on the practice of intellectual history.
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