The opening chapter addresses the basic concepts of history, historians, and historiography, providing definitions of key terms and critical information on the role and conventions of historians.
Subsequent chapters survey periods of history chronologically, adding philosophical context, and exploring the significance of varying viewpoints from the writers of the time. These chapters include: Beginnings: The Invention of History; Roman History; History in the Middle Ages; Early Modern Historiography; History and Enlightenment; Historicism and Empiricism; and Into the Twentieth Century.
As students read through the material they are exposed to some of the most important figures in the development of western historical thought, including Herodotus, Tacitus, Guicciardini, Gibbon, and Marx. They learn that history has never been the mere representation of past events. History can be purely pragmatic. It can be a moral enterprise. It can be an expression of culture. It can reflect the highest aspirations, and it can come from a place of crisis.
The Changing Face of the Past gives students a sweeping yet detailed introduction to important primary source material. It challenges them to consider what these writings say about the past and more importantly, what they say about history's ongoing endeavor to describe, explain, and interpret it.
Paul Dover earned his Ph.D. at Yale University. Dr. Dover, a historian of Europe and the Mediterranean world in the late medieval and early modern periods, is on the faculty at Kennesaw State University where he teaches historiography, and is an instructor in the first-year honors Great Books program. His research interests focus on the political, diplomatic, and cultural history of Italy in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries with an emphasis on diplomacy in the Renaissance. Dr. Dover's professional writing has appeared in the Journal of Early Modern History, the Journal of Urban History, and the International Journal of the Classical Tradition.