An Introduction to Historical Comparison

Historical comparison as a method of historical analysis goes back to Herodotus in antiquity, yet it was not until the 1920s through the work of historian Marc Bloch that it was recognised as a solid historical method. Even today, some historians are wary of applying a comparative lens to their work. Why is this, Mikhail Krom asks, when historical comparison can be an incredibly insightful approach to history?

Designed as a helpful resource for historians, An Introduction to Historical Comparison aims to teach scholars how to develop the skills needed to successfully employ a comparative methodology. It begins by tracing the intellectual history of comparative history writing and then examines the practice of historical comparison. The result is a clear and engaging analysis of historical thinking and a useful guide to main methodological techniques, successes, and pitfalls of comparative research.

An Introduction to Historical Comparison is the first comprehensive study of the theory and practice of comparative-historical research. Combining a wide range of case-studies from the best practitioners of historical comparison with an innovative interdisciplinary perspective, this book is thus a meaningful contribution to current debates on historiography. As such, this resource will be of immense value to both students reading historiography and methodology and to historians looking to apply a comparative approach to their own research.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Paradoxes of Historical Comparison

Part I: Historical Comparison from Herodotus to the Present
1. Historical Comparison: From Classical Antiquity to the Enlightenment
2. Historicism and Comparative Method in the 19th and early-20th Centuries
3. The Lessons of Max Weber and Marc Bloch
4. The Rise of Comparative Studies in History in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century
5. New Challenges: Cultural Transfers, Histoire Croisee, Transnational History, and Criticism of Traditional Comparative History
6. Comparative-Historical Sociology

Part II: Historical Comparison in the Search of Method
7. Does Method Exist?
8. The Functions of Comparison and its Specifics in Historical Research
9. The Choice of Objects for Comparison: Types of Historical Comparison
10. Recommendations for Newcomers to Historical Comparison

Part III: The Themes of Comparative Historical Research
11. Comparison in Economic History
12. Comparison in Political History
13. Comparison in Social History
14. Comparative Studies in the History of Nationalism, Empires, and Colonialism

Select Bibliography

Product details

Published 28 Jul 2022

Format Paperback

Edition 1st

Extent 168

ISBN 9781350202115

Imprint Bloomsbury Academic

Dimensions 234 x 156 mm

Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing