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Naval Research 1558-1815   Tags: naval history  

Last Updated: Apr 2, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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The Brewers' Lament



What is Historiography?

Historiography is the study of the methods and interpretation of history.  The interests, questions, and methods of historians change over time; so do interpretations about past events.  Sometimes (rarely) historiography is changed by discoveries of new sources.  For example, when the Soviet Union collapsed, Western historians had access to Russian archives for the first time since the Russian Revolution.  This dramatically changed interpretations of events such as the Revolution, World War Two and the Cold War.  More often, historical interpretation changes as a result of contemporary issues and methods.  After the 9/11 attacks, Western historians became more interested in the history of the modern Middle East.  While this is not surprising, less obvious has been the recent interest in the interpretations of the Roman Empire as historians wondered about America's place within the wider world.

For a splendid example of how historiography is inserted into historical scholarship, within the context of naval history, see Niklas Frykman, "The Mutiny on the Hermione: Warfare, Revolution, and Treason in the Royal Navy," Journal of Social History 44 (2010): 159-187.


Your Task

Your task is to carry out authentic historical research on a topic of the British Royal Navy or the U.S. Navy from 1558-1815.  You will use primary source material and examine current scholarship to make a fresh and insightful contribution to the scholarship of naval history.

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