The Annales School
An Intellectual History
Translated by Jane Marie Todd
Foreword by Timothy Tackett
A new approach to the study of history emerged in France in the late 1920s around the history journal Annales d'histoire économique et sociale. The Annales school, as it came to be identified, grew to be the preeminent twentieth-century movement in historical scholarship. Its bold agenda of a "total history" embracing all the social sciences captivated historians worldwide. Numerous Annales historians have gained international reputations, among them the "founding fathers," Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre, as well as Fernand Braudel, Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, François Furet, Philippe Ariés, Jacques Le Goff, and Georges Duby.
In The Annales School, Andre Burguiére explores the origins and evolution of this group that still widely influences the study and teaching of history. Intimately involved in all of the publishing decisions and direction of the Annales since 1969, Burguiére is uniquely well qualified to write this intriguing story. Drawing on firsthand experience and his own training as a historian, he offers fascinating portraits of the key figures of the movement. He deftly addresses such matters as the complicated relationship between Bloch and Febvre, the engagement of the Annales school with other historical currents such as microhistory and social anthropology, and the school's gradual shift from the socioeconomic to the sociocultural. He also steps back to assess the long-term contributions—and failures—of the Annales school.
Burguiére's account of the Annales school, the first by an insider, is a major contribution to the study of French intellectual history during the twentieth century, when French thinkers played a large role in developing new approaches to the social sciences.