Patrick Manning

in The Oxford Handbook of World History

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199235810
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191744051 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History


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This article poses questions and offers reflections on the most general type of thinking entailed in the study of world history. It addresses the common and contested ways of knowing the world and its past that are shared among us. It discusses the current state of epistemology in world history by giving brief and illustrative references to the development of global epistemology. The article focuses on current issues and current debates, regardless of whether they are new debates or old debates. The ‘historical record’ consists of the currently available evidence on past events. It can expand as more evidence is added with time and as new discoveries and new methods enable the retrieval of additional information on the past. But the historical record can contract as information is lost or forgotten. Finally and most common in usage is ‘history’ as representations of the past.

Keywords: world history; historical record; global epistemology; past evidence

Article.  8529 words. 

Subjects: Methods and Historiography

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