On the defence of (my) history

In this article I attempt to discover whether there is a defence of history, capable of withstanding the assault mounted on it by Keith Jenkins, Alun Munslow and other 'postmodern' critics of the subject. To this end, I look at a number of the standard defenses of history, cited by Jenkins and Munslow in various works, in particular those of E.H. Carr, Geoffrey Elton, Richard Evans, Mary Fulbrook, C. Behan McCullogh and Arthur Marwick. And at the same time I look again at a series of papers on the subject acquired from the Institute of Historical Research, mainly by way of the Web. What I find, to my surprise, is that, whereas the postmodern critics of history invariably challenge the validity of the case put forward by the defenders of history, the defenders of history more often than not accept many of the principal tenets of the postmodern critique. Michael Oakeshott, a noted philosopher of history of a previous generation, alone, I find, offers a convincing defence of the subject.