The expression ‘cultural history’ is generally used today to signal a particular approach to history, one which could be applied to any object, and is mainly concerned with the sense men and women from the past gave to the world they lived in. In this introduction to cultural history as a subdiscipline, the reader will find the key steps in the historical development of the field from 1850 to the present. It surveys different ways in which cultural history has been practised, exploring intellectual history, the history of ideas and concepts, of mentalities, of symbols and representations, and of languages and discourses. Cultural History also maps the territory cultural history most effectively enlightens: gender; the family and sexuality; the body; senses and emotions and images; material culture and consumption; the media and communication. Lastly, it includes an appendix of biographies of a number of influential cultural historians. This concise and accessible introduction will be an essential volume for any university student studying cultural history.
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