Annales School of History

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No rational human being will confuse a city of a fast developing country in 2011 with a Mediterranean village in 1500s. With the progress of technology, nature cannot restrain human activities as it did five hundred years ago. At the close of the twentieth century, the invention of internet revolutionized the way people shared information and catalyzed further technological advancement. Will these radical changes affect future historians’ understanding and practice of historiography? This question puts the Annales School of history under the scrutiny and debates of many modern historians. The Annale School of history was started by Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre. The name Annale comes from Annales d'histoire économique et sociale, which was a journal Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre founded in 1929. The Annale School emphasized on a comprehensive understanding of history, which requires interdisciplinary study involving sociology and anthropology, demography, geography, economics, psychology, linguistics, and art history.[1] The journal gained most of its influence under the leadership of Fernand Braudel. Braudel's particular contribution to the Annales School is his “geo-historical structuralism”, this structuralism is a three-tiered conception of historical time: structure (long-term) at base, then conjuncture (medium-length units) and finally évènement (short-term or event).[2] Braudel regards the évènement as having the least importance in understanding history. His denigration of the évènement came from his mistrust in traditional history, which just chronically records important events that took place. The traditional historians heavily rely on documentary authenticity as they believe that good historical documents are self-sufficient.[3] Braudel, in contrast, does not only question the authenticity of documents, but also criticizes them for being short-sighted. Braudel’s geo-historical structuralism and the custom of interdisciplinary study provide...
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