Traditionally, the study of history has had fixed boundaries and focal pointsâ€”periods, countries, dramatic events, and great leaders. It also has had clear and firm notions of scholarly procedure: how one inquires into a historical problem, how one presents and documents oneâ€™s findings, what constitutes admissible and adequate proof.
Anyone who has followed recent historical literature can testify to the revolution that is taking place in historical studies. The currently fashionable subjects come directly from the sociology catalog: childhood, work, leisure. The new subjects are accompanied by new methods. Where history once was primarily narrative, it is now entirely analytic. The old questions â€œWhat happened?â€