Chapter

Introduction

Edward J. Cowan and Richard J. Finlay

in Scottish History

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780748614196
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653317 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748614196.003.0030
Introduction

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This chapter begins by setting out the central themes of this book: the investigation of the power of the past to confer legitimacy upon present thought or action, and to explore the ways in which previous generations rewrote, manufactured and manipulated history to suit their own present contingencies and preoccupations. It discusses how the Enlightenment inspired the movement to reconstruct the past on the basis of the known facts and evidence, with Scots at the forefront of this process. It also touches on the ways in which post-modernism has affected recent historical studies. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.

Keywords: Scottish history; past; present; Enlightenment; post-modernism; historical studies

Chapter.  3558 words. 

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies

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