Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Theory and Criticism


Dr. Antonio Calcagno


This thesis examines historical writing by drawing on the works of historians, philosophers, theorists and intellectuals, from antiquity to the contemporary moment. In order to answer the demand for scholarship that assembles insights of the Annales historians with other French intellectuals, I treat historians as theorists and theorists as historians. Through the course of my analysis, I examine issues of historical writing such as the scope of historical research and the historian’s task and place; I treat theoretical questions of constructivism, potentiality, agency, causality, teleology, and politics. In order to consolidate these issues into a single analysis, my research spans across disciplinary boundaries. Through an engagement with the methodological and political criticisms of Michel Foucault and Jacques Rancière, I argue in favor of an archival research method that avoids the pitfalls of positivistic analysis and the excesses of procedural refinement, which often serve to narrow the scope of historical research.