Call for Papers
Revisiting the approach to historical sources in the 21st century
Les Cahiers d’histoire journal is presently accepting proposals for its autumn 2019 edition. The review of the typology of sources and their forms of use will be the topic for this upcoming edition, published under the supervision of co-directors Gordon Blennemann (Associate Professor, UdeM) and Rosalie Grimard-Mongrain (PhD. student, UdeM).
The limited number of "traditional" sources occasionally forces historians to broaden the range of documents to better analyze the dynamics of the past. In this perspective, we had to open up to sources that were once underused. Historians of Antiquity and the Middle Ages have long used a wide range of analytical material, which encompass inscriptions, works of art, coins, and archaeological data. The decompartmentalization of sources between the different fields of study has benefited from the historiographical current of oral history, which has given a voice to actors and witnesses through interviews and testimonies. It can also be argued that the postcolonial current has led to a reconsideration of the types of sources studied to do justice to the history of cultures and societies outside the Western context.
The search for new sources also leads to a reconsideration of methodological parameters. One need only to think of the introduction of the use of digital technologies in history that enable to create links that would otherwise be inaccessible. Similarly, data processing now provides tools that give the opportunity to revisit traditional sources under a new perspective. Advances are not limited to new technologies. We may also think of methodological transfers between different disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Let us note, for example, the change in perception in the approach to literary texts as sources, once considered subjective and therefore non-constructive.
Rather than considering new sources or their methodology, some researchers use a conceptual framework from which a new angle of analysis emerges. This is particularly the case with the creation of the concept of race, defined for the study of power relations in colonial societies. Gender also gives historians the opportunity to revisit sources to gain a new perspective on the roles of men and women in societies.
In view of these preliminary reflections, this special volume of the Cahiers d'histoire wishes to bring together the various recent efforts to go beyond the framework of the typology of traditional sources in history or to integrate new methods and conceptual frameworks into the analysis of sources. More concretely, we invite articles that 1) focus on the contribution of a "new" source or corpus of "new" sources, that 2) through new methodological reflection or an approach made possible by technological advances expand the methodology of source analysis, or that 3) through the use of a methodology outside the historical discipline or an innovative conceptual framework contribute to enrich the typology and analysis of sources.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of topics that could be discussed:
Expansion of the typology of sources:
- Iconographic sources (paintings, monuments, graffiti, murals, photographs, maps, etc.)
- Archaeological data
- Material sources (currency, mundane objects, etc.)
- Digital sources and web content
Methodologies and conceptual frameworks:
- Databases and digital methods
- Concepts such as class, otherness, community, etc.
- Integration of methodologies from other disciplines in the analysis of sources in history: literary studies, art history, anthropology, etc.
Both co-directors wish to highlight interdisciplinarity in history. Proposals for articles can come from all horizons, as long as they have a historical focus. Anyone interested can submit a proposal, regardless of their field of specialization in the human and social sciences (theology, anthropology, archaeology, sociology, etc.), provided that the link with the methodological foundations of the historical discipline is well developed. The objective is to highlight the contribution, methodological advances, or analytical frameworks for reflecting on historical sources.
If this theme is of interest to you, we warmly invite you to submit a 500-word proposal to describe the article you aspire to write. Please include the references and primary sources which will be of use to your research, as well as explanation of your proposed article’s contribution to the discipline. These proposals must be submitted at the latest by November 15th, 2018. Include any images which would be pertinent to your study. Completed articles must remain within an 8000-word limit, endnotes included, and must be received by the editorial team at the latest by March 15th, 2019 for evaluation. Texts can be written in English or in French.
Les Cahiers d’histoire expects that the articles received follow specific presentation guidelines, which are available online at http://www.cahiershistoire.org/directives.html. Please submit your proposals, or write with any requests for additional information, at email@example.com.
(Several short reviews, from 700 to 800 words including endnotes, will also be accepted in a limited quantity. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org with your idea or if you wish to contribute!)