Methods in Historical Sociology | Humanities & Social Sciences

Methods in Historical Sociology

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Course Objective

This module draws on methodological debates in history and sociology/social anthropology in order to better understand how the ‘past’ can be used as a resource in ethnographic work. It reflects on the social turn in history writing as well as the historical turn in sociology, both the doing of ‘historical fieldwork’ and the notion of conducting ‘ethnography in the archives.’


Course Content

As sociologists increasingly turn to the past for an understanding of the present, the discipline has incorporated methods from historical research. These include debates on what constitutes an archive, the production of the past as an exercise of power, and how to read historical sources in an ethnographic vein. The significance of the ‘fragment’ or documentary evidence for ethnographic research will be considered. This module will introduce students to some of these larger methodological and theoretical debates from history and sociology.

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