Thursday, January 29, 2009

Narrative History and the Social Sciences

I just listened to an interview with John Demos at the Making History Podcast. Demos is author of the award winning books Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England(1982) and The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America (1994). He talks about his movement from doing social science history to doing narrative history. I was thinking I would rather not draw a line between the two. It doesn't matter whether you consider yourself a social scientist or an historian, sometimes the best way to answer a question is to tell a story.

Some places narrative never seems to go out of style. Story appears to be the primary method of learning at top business schools. And, by the way, MIT is putting more free stuff on the web including case studies from the Sloan school.

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