Writing History Today: from Postmodern Challenge to Global History

Lynn Hunt (University of California, Los Angeles)


History as a field of study has been going through rapid mutations in the last decades. Postmodernism challenged the notion of a unitary self and even the notion of truth. Identity politics undermined national narratives by showing how many had been left out of the accounts. More recently, global history has shifted attention away from nation-states toward the international migration of peoples and goods. Historians need to lead the way in working through these issues in order to provide a history that is adequate to the challenges of citizenship in the twenty-first century. This is all the more true as lying about the past has moved from the margins to the center of political life in many places.