The History Manifesto

Author(s): David Armitage


How should historians speak truth to power - and why does it matter? Why is five hundred years better than five months or five years as a planning horizon? And why is history - especially long-term history - so essential to understanding the multiple pasts which gave rise to our conflicted present? The History Manifesto is a call to arms to historians and everyone interested in the role of history in contemporary society. Leading historians Jo Guldi and David Armitage identify a recent shift back to longer-term narratives, following many decades of increasing specialisation, which they argue is vital for the future of historical scholarship and how it is communicated. This provocative and thoughtful book makes an important intervention in the debate about the role of history and the humanities in a digital age. It will provoke discussion among policymakers, activists and entrepreneurs as well as ordinary listeners, viewers, readers, students and teachers. This title is also available as open access.


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Jo Guldi is just beginning her disciplinary career as Assistant Professor of History at Brown University. She has held fellowships at the University of Chicago, the Harvard Metalab, and the Harvard Society of Fellows. She is author of Roads to Power: Britain Invents the Infrastructure State (2011) and What is the Spatial Turn? (2012), as well as various articles and blog posts on aspects of British property law and digital history. She is the designer of, digital software designed to facilitate the visualization of large amounts of text for historical and political analysis. She has published in Counterpunch and The Huffington Post, and maintains a personal website at Her next monograph, The Long Land War ( will tell the story of the rise of transnational land grabs, rent strikes, and land reform movements since 1880. David Armitage is the Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History and Chair of the Department of History at Harvard University. He is the author or editor of thirteen books, including The Ideological Origins of the British Empire (2000), Foundations of Modern International Thought (2013), Milton and Republicanism (co-edited, 1995), Bolingbroke: Political Writings (edited, 1997), British Political Thought in History, Literature and Theory (co-edited, 2006) and Shakespeare and Early Modern Political Thought (co-edited, 2009), all from Cambridge University Press. A prize-winning author and teacher, he has lectured on six continents and his works have been translated into Chinese, Danish, French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish.

Introduction: the bonfire of the humanities?; 1. Going forward by looking back: the rise of the longue duree; 2. The short past: or, the retreat of the longue duree; 3. The long and the short: climate change, governance and inequality since the 1970s; 4. Big questions, big data; Conclusion: the public future of the past.

General Fields

  • : 9781107432437
  • : Cambridge University Press
  • : Cambridge University Press
  • : September 2014
  • : 216mm X 138mm X 8mm
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : David Armitage
  • : Paperback
  • : English
  • : 175