Full-text resources of CEJSH and other databases are now available in the new Library of Science.
Visit https://bibliotekanauki.pl


2005 | 35 | 79-103

Article title

Optimism and consciousness of the crisis. A sketch on current state of French 'Annales' historiography


Title variants

Languages of publication



One has to determine the genesis of revolution of the third generation in the 'Annales' school in 60s of the 20th century or even earlier. The 'Annales milieu' reached its full potential and marked its place in the history of French historiography in the mid 70s. The results of this revolution play an important role in today's situation of the École des Haute Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS). However, it is important not to present a sketch of the succeeding generations of 'Annales' as seen in black and white. There is an exaggeration in speaking about a radical break down with Fernand Braudel's output as well as about an automatism in turn toward Bloch and Febvre or about a clear border between specific generations. In addition to this, at the beginning of the new millennium, one can find a relative compromise inside EHESS that was based on the diminishing criticism against Braudel on one hand, and skepticism against his method and its limits on the other. The skepticism brought a revolution of 'nouvelle histoire'. The tendencies to accept an input given by all three generations of Annalists are visible. Another characteristic of the present situation over there is a rejection of any enclosures in succeeding 'schools', schemes, and methodological systems that is joined with growing consciousness of constant change and development. One could talk about a 'postmodern' history but it is rather not a good expression in these circumstances. At the same time inside EHESS there is a common attitude to see a crisis - of today's condition of the discipline of history. Every historian from EHESS has his own opinion on its cause. Gérard Noriel indicated a few of them. He proved that a full openness towards other social sciences and other historical schools that was a largely adopted practice among Annalists led them to the 'epistemological pathology' and a loss of identity. The borders of history as a discipline became unclear. On one side an histoire immediate crossed a border of sociology and on the other both the sociology and anthropology started themselves to do history pushing out historical research. The system of education in EHESS has been changing slowly recently. There are no differences between the systems of other universities offering the doctoral studies called 'troisieme cycle'. The analysis the author made upon curricula states clearly that it is extremely difficult to find there a clear historical subject in the sense of classic historical studies. In such a situation there is no surprise in the voices of its employees describing the crisis of identity in the discipline of history. .







Physical description

Document type



  • P. Pleskot, c/o Uniwersytet Warszawski, Wydzial Historyczny, ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 26/28,. 00-325 Warszawa, Poland


Document Type

Publication order reference


CEJSH db identifier

YADDA identifier

JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.