Toward a Multidirectional Future of Historiography: Globality, Interdisciplinarity, and Posthumanity

Compared with the survey offered in the New Perspectives on Historical Writing nearly three decades earlier, historical practices around the world today have witnessed a remarkable change on several fronts. First, marked expansions occurred in such fields as gender history, history of memory, history of knowledge, and visual history, resulting in their noticeable transformation (for example, “gender history” to “history of sexuality” and “visual history” to “history of things”). Second, by exploring and presenting the “other(s)” in modern historiography, new areas are opened up in postcolonial history, global history, emotions history, and so on, which have prompted historians to reconceptualize their notions of time and space. Third, menacing global climate change and notable breakthroughs in various areas of modern technology have exerted an unprecedented impact on historical writing, exemplified by the new developments in environmental history, neurohistory, digital history, and animal history. Science and technology help historians to rejuvenate their research methodology and teaching pedagogy, but they have also demanded that historians acquire a better understanding of the interaction and co-evolution of humans and nonhumans in history, or to take the nonanthropocentric and nonanthropomorphic approach. In sum, what lies ahead for historians and history students today is a multidirectional future, which is at once an opportunity and a challenge.