Historical interpretations

Plural and competing accounts of the past are common in our multi-storied present and the expansion of academic history since the nineteenth century has led to the multiplication, rather than the consolidation, of histories. Learning history and negotiating the present both require the ability to identify, comprehend, explain and evaluate historical interpretations. Understanding history entails understanding how historical interpretations come to be made. This chapter explores some practical, theoretical and logical aspects of historical interpretation and considerations relevant to the task of developing students’ abilities to think critically, comparatively and evaluatively about history and historical interpretations.