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Annales School

The Annales School is a school of historical writing named after the French scholarly journal Annales d'histoire économique et sociale (later called Annales. Economies, sociétés, civilisations , then renamed in 1994 as Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales ) where it was first expounded. Annales school history is best known for incorporating social scientific methods into history.

The Annales was founded and edited by Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre in 1929, while they were teaching at the University of Strasbourg. These authors quickly became associated with the distinctive Annales approach, which combined geography, history, and the sociological approaches of the Annee Sociologique (many members of which were their colleagues at Strasbourg) to produce an approach which rejected the predominant emphasis on politics, diplomacy and war of many 19th century historians. Instead, they pioneered an approach to a study of long-term historical structures (la longue durée ) over events. Geography, material culture, and what later Annalistes called mentalities or the psychology of the epoch are also characteristic areas of study.

Bloch died during WWII, and Febvre carried on the Annales approach in the 1940s and 1950s. It was during this time that he trained Fernand Braudel, who would become one of the best known exponents of this school. Braudel's work came to define a 'second' era of Annales historiography and was very influential throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

While authors such as Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie and Jacques Le Goff continue to carry the Annales banner, today the Annales approach has been less distinctive as more and more historians do work in cultural history and economic history.

See also: Historiography

Further reading

  • The French Historical Revolution: The Annales School, 1929-1989. By Peter Burke. Stanford University Press. 1991.
  • The New History in France: The Triumph of the Annales. By François Dosse. University of Illinois Pres. 1994.
  • Histories: French Constructions of the Past. Edited by Lynne Hunt and Paul Revel. The New Press. 1994. (a collection of essays with many pieces from the Annales).

Last updated: 02-09-2005 15:31:59