Twenty-First Century Historiography and its Tenets: A Brief Summary of the Postulates of the Proposed Twenty-First Century School of Historiography

London Journal of Research in Humanities and Social Sciences
Volume | Issue | Compilation
Authored by Sujay Rao Mandavilli , NA
Classification: FOR Code: 430299p
Keywords: NA
Language: English

The paper presents a high-level summary of the Twenty-First Century school of Historiography as we had proposed it in three papers published in peer-reviewed journals between the years 2015 and 2018. Our approach recommends a stakeholder-driven approach for historiography and encompasses a wide range of topics from research to dissemination of information to stakeholders, with many checks and balances to prevent potential distortion or a one-sided interpretation of history. We emphasize an objective and a data-driven approach and lay a greater emphasis on the roles and responsibilities of a historian to avoid the pitfalls of different ideology-driven approaches and enable him to act in the greater interests of science, society and the education system. We also lay down the core principles of the proposed Twenty-first century school of Historiography and delineate the social duties and functions of a historian as well. We also introduce Anthropological Historiography as a component of Twenty-first Century Historiography and lay down is basic tenets and objectives. We also delineate the role that we expect will be played by Historiography in the attainment of long-term social goals and objectives, and in setting the agenda for a rational, secular society.


Twenty-First Century Historiography and its Tenets: A Brief Summary of the Postulates of the Proposed Twenty-first Century School of Historiography

Sujay Rao Mandavilli



The paper presents a high-level summary of the Twenty-First Century school of Historiography as we had proposed it in three papers published in peer-reviewed journals between the years 2015 and 2018. Our approach recommends a stakeholder-driven approach for historiography and encompasses a wide range of topics from research to dissemination of information to stakeholders, with many checks and balances to prevent potential distortion or a one-sided interpretation of history. We emphasize an objective and a data-driven approach and lay a greater emphasis on the roles and responsibilities of a historian to avoid the pitfalls of different ideology-driven approaches and enable him to act in the greater interests of science, society and the education system. We also lay down the core principles of the proposed Twenty-first century school of Historiography and delineate the social duties and functions of a historian as well. We also introduce Anthropological Historiography as a component of Twenty-first Century Historiography and lay down is basic tenets and objectives. We also delineate the role that we expect will be played by Historiography in the attainment of long-term social goals and objectives, and in setting the agenda for a rational, secular society.


What is historiography?  

Humans have always exhibited an acute interest in their past. It is therefore no surprise that Historiography as a formal field of study began to take shape from very early times, and many different approaches and techniques to reconstruct the past have been proposed over the past two millennia.  The term historiography refers to the art and the science of writing history and includes specialized techniques and tools for the study of history. It is also a structured study of the art and methods of writing history and research methodologies pertaining to various aspects of history. There is also specialization by region and period, examples being the “History of the French Revolution,” the “History of South America" or the “History of Ancient China”. Historiography has also broadened in scope, from traditional views of history as narratives of events to Marxist historiography emphasizing historical materialism and more recent post-modern schools of historiography. [1] [2] [3] [4]

The earliest definitions of history were given by the Greeks and the Romans, and various scholars ancient and modern, such as Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Aristotle, Henry Johnson, Thomas Carlyle, Lord Acton and Marquis de Condorcet have speculated on the nature of history.

The field of Historiography took shape during the time of the Greeks, and Greek scholars such as Heredotus, Hecataeus of Miletus, Ephorus, Demophilus, Polybius and Diodorus greatly contributed to the field. Greek scholarship was of very high standard, and most of the basic principles of historiography were formulated during this period. The next major period of growth came during the period of the Romans, and Quintus Fabius Pictor, Cato the Censor, Livy, Cornelius Tacitus and Antipater were the major Roman scholars of Historiography. Historiography also developed independently in China and Japan.   In China, the oldest history was recorded in the Oracle bone script around the end of the second millennium BC. The earliest works of history in Japan were the Rikkokushi, a corpus of national histories of Japan from its early mythological beginnings until the 9th century AD.  

Other schools of historiography included Church Historiography  which was oriented towards religious needs, Arab Historiography (known through writers such as Ibn Khaldun, Waqidi and Al-Madaini) which made an attempt to reconcile ancient Greek methodologies in historiography with Church historiography, and the German School of Historiography and its dialectics (Karl Marx was also greatly influenced by this school).                                  

Karl Marx adopted many aspects of Hegel’s dialectical methodologies, but in a modified form. Marx thought most problems could be explained in material or economic terms, and this concept is known as Historical Materialism. In Marx’s view, non-material aspects of human existence such as literature, art and philosophy were determined by economic factors of conditions, and Economic factors took precedence over all other factors in determining social consciousness. Marx’s ideas on history were adopted by many countries, including those which did not consider themselves to be communist or socialist. Marxist historiography has also made noteworthy contributions to the history of the working class, oppressed nationalities, and the study of history from below. Marx was criticised both during and after his lifetime, and criticisms of his historical methods have been many.  

Major changes have occurred in the field of historiography since the time of Karl Marx, and of late there has been a tendency to view history more as a science than an art. It is being increasingly interfaced with Geography, Economics, Sociology, Psychology, Archaeology, Anthropology, Philology and other sciences. Schools such as the Annales School have also helped incorporate social scientific methods into history. New trends in historiography also include Cliometrics, Comparative history, Cultural history, Cultural history, history of art, history of literature, subaltern history or history from below etc.  Postmodernist thoughts and ideals have also been applied in History. This includes critical interpretations of several aspects of the Twenty-first century such as culture, literature, history, art, philosophy, linguistics, economics, and fiction.

There also have been other schools of historiography in different parts of the world. The Indian Nationalist School of historiography arose from the desire to set right alleged biases and prejudices in Colonial historiography but was largely discredited due to its methodological flaws. One of the progenitors of this school was Bankim Chandra Chatterjee.  Offshoots of this school of thought, are Hindutva interpretations of history, which do not constitute a school at all, and merely seek to propagate Hindu nationalist agendas. [5] [6]

Historiography by Objectives or HBO  

Historiography by Objectives or HBO is a new approach towards Historiography that we proposed in our papers. This approach originated from the tools and techniques we employed in proposing solutions to the Aryan Problem, a resolution of the Identify of the people of the Indus Valley Civilization, a study on the Indus script and literacy in Post-Harappan India.  We had proposed that Historiography in the Twenty-first century would be driven by a core set of standard objectives, to which a scholar would be free to add his or her own objectives.

We also recommend inter-disciplinary approaches that integrate with other sciences such as anthropology, genetics and linguistics, and recommend that the historian also play an important role in the progress of these sciences. This would also reinforce the idea historiography as a science, thereby greatly augmenting its value.  The Twenty-first century may also witness international approaches, and the historian may also play a role in promoting mainstream, scientific views of history, thereby combating superstition, dogma and blind faith.  

We also believe that stakeholders are central to the process of history-writing and would play a major role in determining the direction of historiography along with pre-defined and scholar-defined objectives. A stakeholder- focussed approach will be an inalienable part of all Twenty-First century historiography and be at the heart of our approach.

Our approach also stems from the weaknesses of already existing approaches such as Marxist approaches that dominate historiography to this day. Marxist historiography emphasizes core principles such as Historical materialism, Dialectical Materialism and Teleological determinism and emphasizes the role of economic factors in determining Historical outcomes.  However, there have been some bonafide criticisms of Marxist historiography such as its one-size-fits-all approach, and this has bred other reactionary approaches. The differences between Marxist historiography and our approach will be evident once the objectives of our approach are understood. [7] [8] [9]

Key Processes to be followed while implementing HBO

The following are the Key Processes to be followed while implementing Historiography by Objectives or HBO

  1.  Identification of stakeholders

The first step in the process will be to identify stakeholders, who may vary depending on the nature and the type of the work. Stakeholders will be the beneficiaries of a sound and methodical approach to history writing.  Examples of stakeholders could be students of history, teachers of history, educationists, the layman who will be greatly benefitted by a scientific approach to history, anthropologists, linguists, and other specialists whose research can be greatly enhanced by the adoption of scientific methods of history. Their interests will need to be kept in mind throughout the History-writing process, as well as their ability to assimilate and digest information.  

2.  Setting of Objectives  

The setting of objectives needs to be carried out through discussions with various stakeholders. In certain cases, as would be the case with students of history, it would not be practicable to engage in a debate with stakeholders directly. In such case, proxies, who would be teachers, would need to be identified, such that feedback can be elicited.

3.  Standard objectives and areas of focus

We had identified a list of thirty-nine standard objectives, and it would be apparent that a significant gap exists between current praxis and these approaches. This reinforces the need for our approach. These objectives would satisfy several principles, examples of these being intellectual honesty and objectivity, accuracy and precision, insistence on evidence and data wherever practicable, the desire to work towards the greater good of society, and act in the interests of science, the desire to bear in mind stakeholder interests at all times, to adhere to inter-disciplinary approaches wherever practicable, and to work towards solving unresolved issues in science and history.

Scholars also need to work towards evidence-based and objective revision wherever revision becomes necessary, and denounce and combat ideology-driven revision and revision driven by vested interests. Scholars will need to work towards the elimination of narrow parochial interests and vested interests in scholarship and create a spirit of bonhomie and camaraderie in research and foster better understanding between disparate or antagonistic groups. All ideology- driven approaches must eventually be made redundant, and left by the wayside- This would constitute a scholar’s long-term objective.

Scholars need to guard against intellectual elitism and work towards the democratization of science and the wide dissemination of knowledge by making public the data, the methodology used in research, and the key arguments, as far as possible. Scholars must also work towards the identification of pseudo-scientific approaches and approaches that work against the advancement of science and scholarship.

Scholars must also acquire competence in all allied areas, and to be up-to-date with all developments in all related fields of science.  They must work towards the creation of frameworks where specialists such as anthropologists, linguists, comparative historians and other scholars can carry out their research, and eventually work towards scenarios where the distinction between various fields of science gets blurred. They must also work towards the creation of frameworks so that history across regions and periods can be studied seamlessly. Needless to say, all problems and solutions must be re-examined from an international background to ensure that scholarship is global in nature.  

Historians must also constantly pursue new vistas and opportunities in history writing, and look for new areas of study.  They must guard against dogma by constantly engaging in a process of self-introspection.  Any new data or evidence must be analyzed without undue delay and used to review and reformulate hypotheses wherever required, to assist in the process of knowledge creation. Contradictory data or evidence must also be welcomed, and carefully scrutinized and analysed, as a synthesis will always lead to better solutions. The scholar must also guard against vindictive approaches and can take what is useful from other ideology-driven approaches. For example, Subaltern history from Marxist historiography may still be a useful feature in Twenty-first century historiography.  

The historian may work towards the creation of a body of knowledge that can study the causes and effects of various events, and this body of knowledge and heuristic models must be continuously built upon, if the historian has to acquire greater competence in building scenarios of the future. We had referred to this as Dialogue between past, present and future techniques or DPPF techniques.  Understanding issues from the points of view of different cultures would help a scholar broaden his horizons and act in the greater interests of scholarship. We also propose that all research teams be multicultural as far as practicable, and such teams must not only include specialists from various fields, but also some non-specialists as well.  The scholar must adopt a critical analysis of religion and constantly re-examine the role of religion in society; to work towards purging unhealthy aspects of religion using a critical analysis approach.

The historian must constantly analyse all pseudo-historical claims made from time to time such as the existence of Lemuria, the existence of Atlantis, claims of a heavier-than-air flight by Shivkar Bapuji Talpade in India in 1895, expose fraudulent claims wherever applicable, spread scientific awareness among the masses, and critique pseudo-sciences as well. He may keep religious fanatics in check by facilitating higher standards in education. The historian must constantly look for innovative ways to eradicate blind faith and superstition and fight pseudo-science by promoting scientific versions of history.

The historian may also contribute towards the history of science by focussing on the history of physics, chemistry, mathematics, writing systems, metallurgy etc, and use such studies to use them as an antidote to traditional views of knowledge. He may also participate in new areas of study such as Cliometrics which can bridge the gap between history and economics, and assist in economic development. He may also adopt localized approaches wherever required. For example, he can work towards better national integration and communal harmony within a country or region by eliminating common misconceptions, or highlighting common or shared elements of culture, or work towards better frameworks in cultural studies. This would be a legitimate objective of a historian, provided he does not succumb to ahistorical or pseudo-scientific approaches, or waver from the truth. He may constantly identify new research methods and new research techniques that can be of use to other historians and to take pride in his or her avant-gardism. He may play a key role in conservation and preservation of historical sites in collaboration with scholars in other fields such as archaeologists by helping create awareness and through an assessment and evaluation of such sites from a historical and cultural perspective.

Thus, the list of Standard and Scholar-defined objectives must be used to determine the direction of research and the approach to be adopted for history-writing. This list can also be used to identify key or focus areas of research wherever possible. A prioritization would be necessary in some cases, and can be carried out based on principles such as an Opportunity Loss Approach and Societal Benefit Approach. Scholars must constantly introspect whether objectives have been achieved or not, and an evaluation by other scholars is also to be encouraged.  

4.  Layered approach to study and presentation  

We also recommend a layered approach to study and presentation so that the process of research and history-writing becomes more stakeholder-focussed. This approach also permits an easy dialogue with stakeholders, and course-corrections can be made wherever necessary. It enables the researcher to accommodate varying approaches, if demanded by different stakeholders. In the real world however, the scholar’s output may not be segregated into different layers, and the scholar may use his best judgment to decide what composite approach is appropriate under a given set of circumstances.

The layers proposed in this approach are:

Research layer

The research layer would comprise the topics that have been identified for research. The list of topics needs to be prepared after generation of objectives, discussion with specialists, identifying problems faced in the dissemination of knowledge to a general audience, and such topics need to be ordered on a scale of importance by assessing their importance to different fields of study, the social benefit of such studies, or the opportunity loss of not carrying out such studies. The research layer is a meta-layer, the subset of which is the presentation layer; Thus, a disclosure of all known or available information may be made here, but in a manner that other specialists can use it or relate to it.

Presentation layer  

The presentation layer is a subset of the research layer and consists of four sub-components i.e. General Presentation layer (which is used to present information to a general or a non-specialized audience), Student’s and Academician’s layer (targeted at the student or academician), Specialized presentation layer (used to present information to a specialized audience), and Localized presentation layer (designed for local audiences).  Each sub-component is expected to cater to a different audience, with a broad overlapping area.

5.  Discuss whether approaches meet objectives  

The historian would need to modify his approaches, wherever required, and review the process of research and history writing on a continuous basis, by adding objectives and identifying more stakeholders wherever required, so that the field of history-writing is kept as dynamic as possible. Another idea may be to take stakeholder feedback at frequent intervals.

6. Core principles of Twenty-first century historiography

The core principles of Twenty-first century historiography can also be easily derived from the above objectives. One objective would be to champion the idea of Historiography as a science (an idea that was first proposed by J. B Bury in 1903) and further objectivity in scholarship. This will ensure that subjective approaches are left by the wayside.  He must pursue a dispassionate quest for the truth leaving aside biases, prejudices, or interpretations arising due to an ideological mind set or social, socio-political or socio-economic background. This would be known as objectivity of mindset.

The historian must also emphasize the formulation and enforcement of generic principles over static methods and individual scholars would then be able to develop their own methods. This would impart a dynamism and a vitality to the field. Principles are axioms, rules, values or beliefs that define a field of study, and serve as a determinant for its activities.  Principles are fundamental to a field of study reside at its core, setting its long-term goals and direction as well. Additions and modifications to principles may be made at infrequent intervals and would connote a course correction, an innovation or a paradigm shift.  Principles and concepts may also be pre-developed, but methods may be left to individual scholars’ discretion. For example, dialectical approaches may be recommended, but minute details left to the scholar’s discretion.[10]

The historian would also be expected to steer clear of all ideology-driven approaches both from the left and the left and the right and adopt neutral approaches. We had referred to this as neo-centrism.  The next principle would be structuralism which would imply integration with other sciences. A historian must understand his sphere of influence and ability to influence the development of allied fields for the overall good of science and society, given the fact that history has often been described as being central to the social sciences. Fields of study a historian can greatly contribute towards are anthropology, sociology, linguistics, anthropology, genetics, and economics.  Scholars must adopt wide-ranging approaches by actively seeking out new vistas within the realm of historiography. Examples of such areas of study are the history of science, the history of metallurgy, the history of scripts and economic history.

The historian must also adopt a long-term and a global approach, and even where short-term considerations are to be given weightage, they must be well-integrated with long-term considerations and must not be allowed to override them.  As a corollary of this, the twenty-first century historian is expected to collaborate with scholars across nationalities and disciplines, understand local needs but integrate them with global approaches. Wherever a nationalistic agenda is pursued, it must be restrained and responsible, and must not conflict with the interests of science. The historian must also be well-trained in scientific and historical method, and must be able to differentiate science from pseudo-science. To do this, he may need to familiarize himself with various works in this regard.

Positivism and pragmatism are also attributes of an ideal twenty-first century historian. Positivism refers to a pragmatic attitude and a desire to bring about positive changes in society and science. Pragmatism, is an approach that evaluates theories or beliefs in terms of their practical application and utility and use science as an instrument or tool for problem solving and action.

A historian is also expected to bring scientific thought and awareness to the masses. This is necessary to counter traditional interpretations of history, superstition and blind faith. This can be a major weapon in the fight against superstition and blind faith, can do in India and elsewhere what Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution did in the west one and a half centuries ago.  A historian would also be expected to raise awareness of international issues in societies where such awareness is lacking, thereby broadening people’s horizons. He would also be expected to carry out logical and objective assessments of religion, leaving aside ideologically-driven discrimination between religions or practitioners views.  

The historian would also be expected to adopt a proactive approach which may be defined as acting in advance of a future or a possible situation, thereby modifying a course of action for the benefit of society or science, rather than just reacting to an event. The historian must also avoid intellectual aloofness and nerdism and promote practicalism; This can be done by forging meaningful alliances with others scholars and understanding ground realities and other people’s points of view.  He would also need to be transparent and open and avoid careerism as far as possible besides preferring intuitive approaches to rules of thumb. Reliablism is another hallmark of a historian. It means that a historian must strive towards a reliable and a consistent output. This is possible only when the historian is aware of his sacred social duties and responsibilities.  His work must also be coherent and readable. This principle is known as coherentism.  A historian must also be sceptical to the right degree and must not take anything at face value. However, skeptopathy is dangerous and may be against the interests of scientific progress. Likewise, the historian must be rigorous and accurate but doesn’t not emphasize too much of precision where such precision is not warranted or possible. The latter may be dangerous as it may lead to potentially useful information being left out from textbooks. The historian must also be innovative and creative, and must pursue creative approaches to research, presentation and communication. This would be one of the hallmarks of a good historian. He may devise and use metrics to monitor and measure his various activities, including how others react to his work. He is also expected to be up-to-date with the latest developments in the field and all allied fields, and invest heavily in self-development.  He must constantly evaluate his work against the afore-said principles and any other principles that may be adopted in future.

Objectives of Anthropological Historiography  

We had also proposed that Anthropological Historiography be introduced as a distinct sub-field in Historiography.  The objectives of Anthropological Historiography are to facilitate a better integration between pre-history, proto- history and history and to enable better integration between various branches of Anthropology and Historiography to the extent these are applicable or relevant. Anthropological Historiography would include the standard objectives of Twenty-first Century Historiography and some additional objectives.

A historian should look for ways to build up a scientific temper through the medium of Anthropological Historiography by creating a popular awareness on various Anthropological topics especially those that can accomplish a change in individual and societal orientations.  He should collaborate with psychologists and sociologists to look for ways to build up a scientific temper among students (within the bounds of Historiography and Anthropological Historiography). He should collaborate with educationalists to understand how necessary changes can be introduced in the curricula for the fulfilment of the objectives of Anthropological historiography both in history and other allied subjects.  

He may attempt to reconstruct on the scientific and unbiased history of religion, myths, legends and folklore and use it to quell superstition, dogma and fanaticism, and develop new models for the study of religion to boot.  He may work with Anthropologists, based on past historical data, to anticipate the role of religion in society, and develop theories that will help model future scenarios on the positive and less positive roles of religion in society.

He may also work with sociologists and Anthropologists to understand the historical basis of cultural mores and can help propose remediation strategies that may work in specific situations. He may also work with Anthropologists and Ethnographers to gain a better understanding of specific aspects of culture through a historical analysis, thereby promoting cultural remediation wherever warranted.  He may also work with sociologists to understand other issues impacting society and design historiographical and anthropological frameworks to remediate them.  He may also use techniques in Anthropological historiography to create intellectual revolutions or enhance the quantum of scientific output in places where such revolutions are long overdue or where intellectual output has typically been low.  

He may also help researchers in carrying out a scientific assessment of traditions and traditional sciences by providing the necessary historical inputs. E.g. A scientific study of the origins and practices of Ayurveda, an ancient Indian medical system which is often considered to be a proto-science rather than a full-fledged science may be extremely useful in providing a scientific perspective on this issue.   He may work towards drafting a comprehensive history of science and scientific endeavour across the world by analyzing the underlying causes for high or low scientific output that this can be used for further increasing the quantum of scientific output in various societies.  

He may work towards a comprehensive history of intellectualism and intellectual awakenings with root cause analyses as applicable with inbuilt DPPF or Dialogue between Past, present and future techniques. He may help develop towards cross-cultural historical models and frames of reference, which can be used for inter-cultural studies. Thus, the Anthropological Historiographer can play a significant role in understanding the historical basis of cultural traits as this can be of significant use in Ethnographic studies.  He may also help build up awareness of other cultures and help students understand the appreciable aspects, strengths and weaknesses of other cultures from a historical perspective. He may also work with psychologists and sociologists to understand the changes are required to society to make it more progressive, flexible and dynamic. The Anthropological Historian must work towards better integration of pre-history, proto-history and history through suitably integrated frameworks to bring out the scope and effect of human endeavour such that other specialists may formulate generalized cause and effect relationships. He may also be called upon to develop historical models, in liaison with other specialists, that are of use to Physical Anthropologists, including those pursuing genetic studies or studies on human migrations.  He may also develop historical models and frameworks that are of use to Archaeological Anthropologists. This may be necessary given the fact that historical tradition has always played a crucial role in Archaeological Anthropology.

The Anthropological Historian play a role in developing Anthropological models for understanding substantive economic frameworks in traditional societies by providing the necessary historical inputs, and by developing cross-cultural frames of reference.  He can also play a role in developing models that can be used in various facets of Applied Anthropology. He can bridge socio-cultural distances between cultures by promoting better cross-cultural understanding through appropriate course contents and teaching methods. He can for example, play a role in developing Anthropological models for understanding kinship and other allied aspects of culture in different societies by furnishing necessary historical inputs.  He can also help integrate sub-altern studies into Anthropology in a way that will aid in cultural emancipation by furnishing the necessary historical information. The Anthropological Historian can provide crucial historical inputs that may be of use in formulating new theories and hypotheses on the origin of language as well. This can help counter obsolete theories in Linguistic Anthropology, or common misconceptions such as the Divine Origin theory of the origin of language.  

Primatology and evolutionism may be taught to students though not chiefly as a part of Anthropological Historiography, but the Anthropological Historian can play a role in ensuring that the basics of different facets of Anthropology are taught to students as an part of different sciences, and linked wherever applicable, to history.  He may work towards the introduction of new fields of study wherever required, particularly those that will lead to greater public awareness in crucial areas. A introduction of a study of the history of modern technology, for example, may introduce paradigms shifts in thinking by generating awareness on the origins of technology that impacts their daily lives.  


Several approaches may be followed in the teaching of Anthropological Historiography, and what approach is appropriate will depend from context to context.

Per the first approach, the whole of human history, proto-history and pre-history is presented and integrated with other fields of science.  Basic history is taught from a very young age, but an integration with various sciences is progressively introduced in history courses. Per the second approach, the whole of human history, proto-history and pre-history is presented and integrated with other fields of science, and these topics are taught from a very young age in various sciences but are suitably referenced in history so that even young students of history understand the patterns of integrations with different fields of science. Per this approach, history alone is taught in history courses, but other components of Anthropological historiography and inter-linkages are taught in other courses. As per the third approach, the whole of human history, proto-history and pre-history is presented and integrated with other fields of science as was explained, but is taught only in more advanced courses as a part of history and is taught at a fairly great level of detail. As per the fourth approach, the whole of human history, proto-history and pre-history is presented and integrated with other fields of science and is taught from a very young age as a part of history but is kept relatively simple in the early stages before more detailed narratives are progressively introduced. As per the fifth approach, History is itself replaced with Anthropology in schools, but anthropological and non-anthropological aspects of history are judiciously balanced. The subject may be referred to as Anthropology (or by any other suitable name), but the spirit of our approach must always be maintained. This last of the approaches would be the most appropriate from our perspective, but one that may not be possible to implement immediately, given the quantum of changes that will be involved, and the vested interests that are most likely to block its immediate wholesale adoption.  

The Anthropological Historian may use a grounds-up or a practical needs approach as a starting point to define requirements of any historical method. This approach seeks to carry out a critical analysis of what is required in a given society and uses this as a base to formulate appropriate historical methods or techniques of history writing. The historian must bear in mid the fact that the needs of Islamic countries for example, may differ from that of Europe, and the needs of Europe may likewise differ from that of India.

As per the Counterbalance approach, Historiography is used as a force to negate the negative or harmful effects of religious-derived constructs and dogma. Per this approach, the effects of culture and tradition on the psyche of the society are critically and carefully evaluated before appropriate approaches to history-writing are formulated.

As per the Complementary approach, popular tradition is complemented wherever learnings from such traditions are incomplete or insufficient. This approach may not be the most appropriate in a majority of cases, but may work admirably in scenarios where other approaches are not politically or culturally feasible with the political or intellectual constraints in many societies; in some societies, it may not be possible to terminate religious influences or education completely, or even diminish their importance. However, this approach may trigger cognitive dissonance and bring about in cultural and social revolutions in the long-term.

As per the Supplementary approach, religious inspired approaches (or other approaches that are against the interests of science and the wellbeing of society in general) are terminated completely, and the Anthropological Historiographer adopts a more forceful stance by arguing openly against religion by recommending the elimination of religious education and the teaching of creationism in schools, and replacing them with the approaches recommended in Anthropological Historiography.

In the Psychological Approach, the Historical Anthropologist tries to understand the thought worlds of individuals in different societies and their cultural orientation, and uses these as a starting point for remediation. This approach will also, we believe, form an integral approach of the ‘Sociology of Science’ of which Anthropological Historiography will form a part. How will different approaches to historiography and history writing change an individual’s thought worlds?  These are the questions that a psychological approach must address.  

The Elimination of cultural bottlenecks and societal flaws driven approach is related to the theory of Cultural Lag. Culture usually takes time to catch up with technological innovation. To word it differently, technological changes take place faster than cultural changes and there is an invariable difference between the rate of material progress and non-material progress in any culture. The Anthropological Historiographer can identify bottlenecks keeping in mind his areas of competence and Societal flaws can also be the starting point for the identification of suitable history-writing techniques. Another approach is to identify paradoxes in a given culture, and use this to prioritize and bring about change.  


These proposals, we anticipate, will go a long way in overcoming the criticisms commonly levelled against current approaches to historiography besides making the art of historiography more attuned to the needs of science and society. However, we believe that there can be no one specific school of Twenty-first century historiography. Multiple approaches, tools and techniques will always be necessary, as these will not only serve as a means of healthy communication of ideas, but will also gradually make redundant biases, prejudices and vested interests most human endeavour is invariably associated with.

[1] Historiography by Objectives: A new approach for the study of history within the framework of the proposed Twenty-first Century school of Historiography Sujay Rao Mandavilli ELK International Journal of Social Science Volume 1 Issue 2 (2015)

[2] Enunciating the Core principles of Twenty-first Century Historiography: Some additional extrapolations and inferences from our studies and observations on Historiography Sujay Rao Mandavilli ELK Asia Pacific Journal of Social Science (ISSN: 2394-9392) in Volume 2, Issue 4 July to September 2016  

[3] Introducing Anthropological Historiography as an integral component of Twenty-first Century Historiography: The role played by Anthropological Historiography in the attainment of long-term Anthropological goals and objectives  International Journal of Innovative Science and Research Technology, February 2018, Volume 3, Issue 2 Sujay Rao Mandavilli

[4] Conal Furay and Michael J.Salevouris: The methods and skills of writing history. A Practical Guide. 3rd ed. Wheeling, IL: Harlan Davidson, Inc., 2010.  

[5]  Karl Marx, Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy

[6]  The Philosophy of History: Irfan Habib Journal of History And Social Sciences Volume: Ii, Issue I, January June 2011

[7] Historiography: Ancient, Medieval, and Modern, Third Edition By Ernst Breisach University of Chicago Press, 1997  

[8] History, Its Theory and Method B. Sheikh Ali Macmillan Publishers India Limited, 1981

[9] Howell, Martha & Prevenier, Walter(2001). From Reliable Sources: An Introduction to Historical Methods. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-8560-6

[10] The Principles of Science: A Treatise on Logic and Scientific Method: William Stanley Jevons Macmillan 1874 


For Authors

Author Membership provide access to scientific innovation, next generation tools, access to conferences/seminars
/symposiums/webinars, networking opportunities, and privileged benefits.
Authors may submit research manuscript or paper without being an existing member of LJP. Once a non-member author submits a research paper he/she becomes a part of "Provisional Author Membership".

Know more


For Institutions

Society flourish when two institutions come together." Organizations, research institutes, and universities can join LJP Subscription membership or privileged "Fellow Membership" membership facilitating researchers to publish their work with us, become peer reviewers and join us on Advisory Board.

Know more


For Subscribers

Subscribe to distinguished STM (scientific, technical, and medical) publisher. Subscription membership is available for individuals universities and institutions (print & online). Subscribers can access journals from our libraries, published in different formats like Printed Hardcopy, Interactive PDFs, EPUBs, eBooks, indexable documents and the author managed dynamic live web page articles, LaTeX, PDFs etc.

Know more