Historians are increasingly looking beyond the traditional, and turning to visual, oral, aural, and virtual sources to inform their work. The challenges these sources pose require new skills of interpretation and require historians to consider alternative theoretical and practical approaches. In order to help historians successfully move beyond traditional text, Sarah Barber and Corinna Peniston-Bird bring together chapters from historical specialists in the fields of fine art, photography, film, oral history, architecture, virtual sources, music, cartoons, landscape and material culture to explain why, when and how these less traditional sources can be used. Each chapter introduces the reader to the source, suggests the methodological and theoretical questions historians should keep in mind when using it, and provides case studies to illustrate best practice in analysis and interpretation. Pulling these disparate sources together, the introduction discusses the nature of historical sources and those factors which are unique to, and shared by, the sources covered throughout the book. Taking examples from around the globe, this collection of essays aims to inspire practitioners of history to expand their horizons, and incorporate a wide variety of primary sources in their work.
Sarah Barber is Senior Lecturer in the History Department at Lancaster University. Her publications include Regicide and Republicanism: Politics and Ethics in the English Revolution (1998) and A Revolutionary Rogue: Henry Marten and the English Republic (2000). Corinna Peniston-Bird is Senior Lecturer in the History Department at Lancaster University. Her publications include A Soldier and a Woman: Women in the Military (co-edited with G. J. DeGroot, 2000) and Contesting Home Defence: Men, Women and the Home Guard in the Second World War (with Penny Summerfield, 2007)