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Social History: Subfields


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Subfields

Demographic History

Black History

Ethnic History

Typical approaches include critical ethnic studies; comparative ethnic studies; critical race studies; Asian-American, and Latino/a or Chicano/a studies. In recent years Chicano/Chicana studies has become important as the Hispanic population has become the largest minority in the U.S.


  • The Immigration and Ethnic History Society was formed in 1976 and publishes a journal for libraries and its 829 members.
  • The American Conference for Irish Studies, founded in 1960, has 1,700 members and has occasional publications but no journal.
  • The American Italian Historical Association was founded in 1966 and has 400 members; it does not publish a journal
  • The American Jewish Historical Society is the oldest ethnic society, founded in 1892; it has 3,300 members and publishes American Jewish History
  • The Polish American Historical Association was founded in 1942, and publishes a newsletter and Polish American Studies, an interdisciplinary, refereed scholarly journal twice each year.
  • H-ETHNIC is a daily discussion list founded in 1993 with 1400 members; it covers topics of ethnicity and migration globally.

Labor History

Kirk 2010 surveys labour historiography in Britain since the formation of the Society for the Study of Labour History in 1960. He reports that labour history has been mostly pragmatic, eclectic and empirical; it has played an important role in historiographical debates, such as those revolving around history from below, institutionalism versus the social history of labour, class, populism, gender, language, postmodernism and the turn to politics. Kirk rejects suggestions that the field is declining, and stresses its innovation, modification and renewal. Kirk also detects a move into conservative insularity and academicism. He recommends a more extensive and critical engagement with the kinds of comparative, transnational and global concerns increasingly popular among labour historians elsewhere, and calls for a revival of public and political interest in the topics. Meanwhile Navickas, 2011 examines recent scholarship including the histories of collective action, environment and human ecology, and gender issues, with a focus on work by James Epstein, Malcolm Chase, and Peter Jones.

Women S History

Gender History

History Of The Family

History Of Education

Most histories of education deal with institutions or focus on the ideas histories of major reformers, but a new social history has recently emerged, focused on who were the students in terms of social background and social mobility. In the U.S. attention has often focused on minority and ethnic students. In Britain, Raftery et al. 2007 looks at the historiography on social change and education in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, with particular reference to 19th-century schooling. They developed distinctive systems of schooling in the 19th century that reflected not only their relationship to England but also significant contemporaneous economic and social change. This article seeks to create a basis for comparative work by identifying research that has treated this period, offering brief analytical commentaries on some key works, discussing developments in educational historiography, and pointing to lacunae in research.

Historians have recently looked at the relationship between schooling and urban growth by studying educational institutions as agents in class formation, relating urban schooling to changes in the shape of cities, linking urbanization with social reform movements, and examining the material conditions affecting child life and the relationship between schools and other agencies that socialize the young.

The most economics-minded historians have sought to relate education to changes in the quality of labor, productivity and economic growth, and rates of return on investment in education. A major recent exemplar is Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz, The Race between Education and Technology 2009, on the social and economic history of 20th-century American schooling.

Urban History

There were no overarching social history theories that emerged developed to explain urban development. Inspiration from urban geography and sociology, as well as a concern with workers as opposed to labor union leaders, families, ethnic groups, racial segregation, and women's roles have proven useful. Historians now view the contending groups within the city as "agents" who shape the direction of urbanization. The subfield has flourished in Australia - where most people live in cities.

Rural History

Religion

The historiography of religion focuses mostly on theology and church organization and development. Recently the study of the social history or religious behavior and belief has become important.


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