History In Focus logo and homepage link

History in Focus

the guide to historical resources • Issue 2: What is History? •

What is History?

A portrait of Luise Otto-Peters

The history of all times, and of today especially, teaches that...women will be forgotten if they forget to think about themselves - Luise Otto-Peters (1819-1895)


The web has a large selection of resources relating to historiography and the theory of history. The following sites provide a small sample of the types of resources available. History On-Line provides links to more history web sites

An excellent starting point for locating history web sites is by searching on Humbul Humanities Hub. Other useful sites for locating historiography resources include the history methodologies section of the World Wide Web History Virtual Library and the Modern History Sourcebook, which has a section on the nature of historiography. The Notebook for Contemporary Continental Philosophy has links to a range of pages relating to influential thinkers, including Hegel, Marx and Nietzsche.

Economic thought

McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought

The Archive for the History of Economic Thought web site from McMaster University provides access to a variety of material relating to economic history. Primary texts, studies of primary texts and of authors are all included on the site. The material on the site has been arranged alphabetically by author; over 150 authors are currently included on the site. Examples of authors included in the archive are Ruskin, Locke, Mill, Owen, Bentham, Keynes, Hobbes, Burke and Aristotle. Mirror sites are held at the University of Bristol and the University of Melbourne. A list of links to other web archives is available from the site.

History of Economic Thought Website

The history of economic thought web site has been developed by Gonçalo Fonseca and Leanne Ussher of the Economics Department at New School University. The site concentrates on providing information about schools of economic thought and individual economists. The site has an alphabetical list of individual economists. Information on the economists includes details of their publications with links to online full text sources where available. Links to information held at other institutions are also provided in some cases. The site also has information on different schools of economic thought. These are divided into: schools of political economy (ancient - 1871); neoclassical schools (1871 - today); alternative schools; and thematic schools. Information about the school, its literature and economists is included. The site also has a section of essays and surveys which outline some of the theories and models of economic thought. Other features of the web site include a list of links to other relevant web sites, references and contact details.

Back to top

Marxist thought

Marxists.org: Internet Archive

Marxists.org internet archive is a site devoted to the dissemination and discussion of Marxist thought. Essentially an archive, Marxists.org has a considerable number of texts by key thinkers such as Karl Marx, Frederich Engels, Lenin and Trotsky. However, the most interesting feature of the site is pedagogic. Those familiar with Marxism will find the resources very useful, but those new to Marxism can receive what is, in effect, a crash course in dialectical materialism. Explaining basic tenets, such as the theory of surplus value and alienation, Marxism.org is a powerful site devoted to spreading the word of Marx and resolving misconceptions about his legacy.

(Record courtesy of Humbul - web site catalogued by Stuart Allen)

From Marx to Mao

This web site, created by Dave Romagnolo, provides access to texts of Marxists from Marx to Mao. The main part of the site is divided into four sections providing access to texts from Marx and Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao. The site also has a section entitled other texts and documents which provides access to material written by lesser know Marxists and from Communist Parties. The site also has a 'what's new' section, a 'what's coming' section, and a guide to reading section. The guide to reading section on the site provides suggestions for reading material on the site relating different topics such as The Agrarian Question, The Communist International and Economics and Politics of Imperialism.

Back to top


Chromos: Cyber Review of Modern Historiography

Cromohs (Cyber review of modern historiography) is a web site which aims to provide an on-line resource for the study and research of modern historical culture. The review aims to include historiography, erudition, philosophies of history, methodologies of historical research and didactics of history. It also aims to cover a period from the fifteenth century to the present. Each annual issue of Cromohs includes essays and reviews. An archive of previous issues is maintained on the site. The web site has been building up an electronic library of historiography (Eliohs), which intends to make the full text of classic works of historiography, methodology, historical erudition, theory and philosophy of history available. Eliohs also includes keyworks of historiographical debates, travel literature, relevant literary works and historical narratives. Research tools, such as indexes to literary periodicals and academic thesis are also included. Other features of the site include an annotated directory of useful online resources, a news section and an annual bibliography which can be searched. Cromohs welcomes contributions to the project and submission guideline are provided on the site.

HISTOS - The electronic journal of Ancient Historiography at the University of Durham

HISTOS, from the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Durham, is a full text refereed journal covering ancient historiography. The scope of the journal is relatively broad and includes historiographical texts of Greece and Rome, the historiography of Byzantium and other ancient cultures, ancient biography and the influence of historiography and biography on other literary genres. Modern theory relevant to the study of historiography is also covered by the publication. The journal also addresses the use of non-literary sources for the study of the past. The emphasis of the journal is on the historical texts themselves rather than on the historical problems that they are being used to solve. Readers are encouraged to send in responses to articles. The site also has details of historiographical conference and historiographical research projects . The first issue of the journal was published in 1997 and issues have been brought out annually since that date. The journal is also available in print.

Other journals, although not concentrating exclusively on historiography, include relevant articles:

Access History

Access: History is a refereed full-text online journal published by the History Department at the University of Queensland, in association with the University of Queensland History Graduates' Association. The original aim of the journal was to publish high quality undergraduate and postgraduate essays in order to provide undergraduate students with essay examples. The focus of the journal has now shifted towards publishing essays which address questions that first year undergraduate history students tend to ask. The essays selected for publication aim to show high quality historical practice in subject selection, research and delivery. The journal includes some articles relevant to historiography. The first issue includes articles entitled: 'An Assessment of the Functionalist School of Historiography' and 'Meaning in History'. Articles from later issues include: 'Why are you studying history' and 'Feminist Historiography of Early Modern Women'. The journal is published in English and the articles are available as PDF files.
ISSN: 1440-8449

Electronic Journal of Australian and New Zealand History

The Electronic Journal of Australian and New Zealand History was founded in 1996 and has developed into a peer reviewed forum serving H-ANZAU, the H-Net network for the history of Australia and New Zealand. The journal publishes articles, research reports, conference proceedings and review of books and history in digital media. All the material on the site is available free of charge. The journal aims to review and improve the use of technology in historiography. The site is currently being further developed and will include a section on networked resources for historians. There are also plans to provide a search facility for the journal. Other features of the site include information on the editors and details on how to submit an article.
ISSN: 1321-5752

Back to top

Essays and interviews

On the Use and Abuse of History for Life 1873

This site provides access to the text of Nietzsche's essay On the Use and Abuse of History for Life, 1873. The essay has been translated from German into English by Ian Johnston of Malaspina University College in Canada. It was originally translated in September 1998 and revised in April 2000. This essay forms part of a larger collection of texts on a variety of topics (for example: history of science, works from Kafka, Homer, Bunyan and miscellaneous essays written by Ian Johnston). The site was mainly designed as a source of instructional material for Liberal Studies and English courses at Malaspina University College but is also useful for a wider audience.

The Future of History (Richard Evans)

This article originally appeared in the journal Prospect in October 1997. It is now available from the Prospect highlights web site which has an online selection of over 200 articles from Prospect. The future of history questions the assertion by post-modern historians that writing history is about power, and that all interpretations are equally valid. Prospect publishes articles debating political, intellectual and cultural issues. The articles on the Prospect highlight web site cover a range of subjects, including history. The site has a chronological list of full text articles. The site also provides access to the title of all articles published as a chronological list and by subject. Other features of the include subscription and contact details, and submission guidelines.

Defender of the Faith: Geoffrey Elton and the Philosophy of History (Geoffrey Roberts)

This article by Geoffrey Roberts outlines the contribution made by Geoffrey Elton to the theory of history. The article originally appeared in Chronicon*, which is published by University College Cork. The journal covers history in general with a particular focus on Irish history. Articles are published in English and are full-text. Each volume is made available at the beginning of the year and articles are published online as they are received. The journal aims to encourage debate by publishing replies to some of the articles and by providing a forum for discussion.
* 2 (1998) R1: 1-22 ISSN 1393-5259

Nuclear Weapons, the Arms Race, and the Peace Movement (An interview with E.P. Thompson)

This web site provides access to the text of an interview by Harry Kreisler with Cory Coll, a nuclear weapons designer and the historian E.P. Thompson. The interview took place in 1983 and discusses issues relating to nuclear weapons, the arms race and the peace movement. This interview forms part of the Conversations with History series from the Institute of International Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. The aim of the series is to capture and preserve intellectual ideas by interviewing prominent figures about their lives and work. Conversations in History includes over 200 unedited interviews which are being put onto the web site in both text and video formats. Subjects for interview include diplomats, statesmen, soldiers, economists, political analysts, scientists, historians, writers, foreign correspondents, activists and artists. The interviews aim to include discussions of political, economic, military, legal, cultural and social issues which shape the world.

"The Killing of History": Why Relativism is Wrong (Roger Kimball)

This site provides access to a review article of the book The Killing of History: How a Discipline is Being Murdered By Literary Critics and Social Theorists by Keith Windschuttle. The article was first published in September 1996 and provides a lengthy review of the book. The article appears in The New Criterion Online which is the electronic version of the subscription based journal The New Criterion. Some of the journal's reviews and articles are, however, made freely available on its web site. The New Criterion was originally founded in 1982 with the aim of providing a critical voice of dissent in cultural issues.

Back to top

Mailing and discussion lists


H-ideas is a moderated discussion list covering the broad topic of the history of ideas and intellectual history. The list is open to scholars, students, librarians and to anyone else who has an interest in participating in the discussion of the history of ideas and intellectual history. The two main aims of the discussion list are to assist communication and debate amongst the international history community, and to disseminate information relevant to the professional interests of the community. The type of information included on the list are teaching methods, scholarly conferences and publications. H-ideas also commissions book reviews, which are available from the site. It is possible to search or browse the discussion archives.


H-Radhist is a moderated email discussion list focusing on the historical, theoretical and political issues which routinely emerge from the study of history from a radical perspective. The list is aimed at historians and scholars who approach the past from a radical perspective. This would include, for example, feminists, marxists, neo-marxists, post-structuralists and radical democrats. However, contributions from historians outside of the left who wish to explore radical perspectives are also welcome. As well as contributions from subscribers the list editors also post information on events, features, book reviews, article reviews and book announcements. It is possible to search or browse the discussion archives.


H-History-and-Theory is a moderated email discussion list which is sponsored by the journal History and Theory. The aim of the list is to increase and broaden communication between anyone interested in critical philosophy of history, speculative philosophy of history, historiography, history of historiography, historical methodology, critical theory, time and culture and related disciplines. The list also accepts announcements about events, books, jobs etc. It is possible to search and browse the message archives. The web site provides links to other related discussion lists on the H-Net service, subscription information and some general information about the list. It is necessary to register with the list before posting to the list.

History Ideas

This email discussion list is intended for the discussion of intellectual history, history of ideas and sociology of knowledge. Information about events such as conferences are also distributed via the list. It is necessary to register with the list before posting to the list. It is possible to browse the message archive by month. It is also possible to search the archive. The messages can be searched in their entirety or a search can be carried out on the author address or the subject heading of the message. It is also possible to restrict a search by date.

Back to top


the / untimely / past

The main endeavour of The Untimely Past Web site is the production of an online bibliography for the study of the intersections of historiography with post-modernism, post-structuralism and related theories. Bibliographies include: Michel Foucault, Michel de Certeau, post-colonial historiography, rhetoric, poetics, narrativity. Bibliographies are delivered as single documents. Most individual entries have been annotated with a paragraph or more descriptive/evaluative prose. Links are included to online articles and related sites.
(Record courtesy of Humbul - web site catalogued by Humbul Staff)

History and the Limits of Interpretation

This site provides access to the full text papers from an international interdisciplinary symposium on History and the Limits of Interpretation held in March 1996. The symposium was sponsored by Rice University Center for the Study of Cultures and Rice University History Department with additional support from the Mellon Foundation. The meeting encouraged the active involvement of graduate students. The site has fourteen papers on topics including: History, Fiction, Human Time; Experience, Transcendentalism, and the Limits of Interpretation; Drawing the Line: Limits and Intention in Historical Interpretations; Psychoanalysis, the Self and Historical Interpretation; and Historicism, Metahistory, and Historical Practice: The Historicization of the Historical Subject.

www.theory.org.uk : Foucault

The Foucault web site is part of an extensive site, www.theory.org.uk, for the study of topics in critical theory. The site and this section has been created by David Gauntlett, Institute of Communication Studies, University of Leeds. The Foucault site provides a range of information about Michel Foucault (1926-1984), including: introductory material; a limited number of essays; books and book reviews; and a substantial section entitled, 'Foucault's Paris', a virtual (and semi-humourous) tour of the parts of Paris closely associated with Foucault. The site offers links to further online resources.
(Record courtesy of Humbul - web site catalogued by Humbul staff).

Contemporary Philosophy, Critical Theory, and Postmodern Thought

This site provides materials and an extensive index of internet resources on a vast range of critical/postmodern theorists and schools of thought. It is maintained by Martin Ryder of the University of Colarado at Denver. Among the writers featured are such seminal figures of postmodernism as Jaques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Jurgen Habermas, and Jacques Lacan. The names of all featured authors are hyperlinked to individual author profiles, transcriptions of interviews, articles, book reviews, links to other postmodernism-related web resources, and bibliographies. This is a well-organised and comprehensive site that is primarily intended for undergraduates.
(Record courtesy of Humbul - web site catalogued by Daniel Came).

Anarchist Archives

Anarchist archives has been created by Dana Ward of Pitzer College in California. Work on the site started in 1995 with the aim of providing an online history of anarchists and anarchist movements, as well as the online provision of the collected works of major anarchists. A large part of the site is devoted to influential anarchists. This section includes biographical information, full text of a large number of works, bibliographies, portraits and commentaries. The site also has a section which devotes itself to significant historical events such as the Paris Commune, The Spanish Civil War and the Haymarket Massacre. The site is strong on primary sources - as well as providing full text of the works of major anarchists there are some early twentieth century full text pamphlets and some full text journals from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A lengthy and up-to-date bibliography is included. The bibliography is available either in an alphabetical list or divided into categories. These categories include works specifically relating to particular anarchist theorists, anarchist movements and events, anarchist anthologies, other anarchist writers and works and other comprehensive bibliographies. The site offers a list of links which have been divided into categories. The site has a clear structure to it and it is possible to search or to browse the site.

Institute for Psychohistory

The Institute for Psychohistory, headquartered in New York with eighteen centres around the world, is a research centre concerned with the science of historical motivation. Psychohistory tries to combine the methodologies of psychotherapy and social sciences to understand the emotional origins of social and political behaviour. The web site of the Institute for Psychohistory provides details of the organisation, their aims and information about their journal 'The Journal of Psychohistory'. The site provides access to a handful of full-text articles from its journal. There are also three full-text online publications from Lloyd deMause, the director of the Institute. The Institute for Psychohistory hosts an online discussion list, details of which are available from the site. The site also has a list of other relevant links and details of a free online course for those interested in psychohistory.

World History Archives: World Historiography

This site has been created by Haines Brown and provides access to a variety of different types of material relating to historiography. The site mainly concentrates on collecting debates from email lists, but also has press reports, bibliographies and essays written by the creator of the web site. The material on the site has been divided into the following categories: the peculiarity of world history; pre-capitalist modes of production; metahistory and the philosophy of world history; the limits and divisions of world history; essentialism: eurocentrism and western civilization; the debates over UN national standards for world history; and the world systems approach. This site is part of the World History Archives whic was also created by Haines Brown. The aim of the archive is to provide documents for the teaching and learning about world history from a working-class and non-eurocentric perspective.

Historians I Have Known

In this article the President of the American Historical Association, Wm. Roger Louis, talks about historians who have influenced his work. Wm. Roger Louis studied initially in the United States and then later in Britain. The article covers historians who he met in the course of his studies and professional life. The historians mentioned in the articles include: A.J.P Taylor, Margery Perham, Ronald Robinson, Jack Gallagher, Albert Hourani and Max Beloff. This articles was published in Perspectives Online which is the electronic newsmagazine of the American Historical Association. This newsletter publishes news items, details of events, information on the activities of the American Historical Association, letters and articles.

Back to top