chapter  9
9 Pages

Destabilising the discipline

Critical debates about history and their impact on the study of dance 1
ByAlexandra Carter

The traditional discipline of history has come under attack from critical and cultural theories which question the very nature and status of knowledge, and how that knowledge is retrieved, organised, recorded and received. These debates about the construction and reception of knowledge arose from postmodern, poststructuralist and feminist theories. Debates about the nature of knowledge have arisen from a variety of critical and cultural perspectives. A further debate in macro-history which inevitably impacts on dance concerns the notion that historiography is not value-free. It privileges certain kinds of people and activities and it is these that constitute the canon. One of the attacks upon postmodern and other critical perspectives is that they result in a deep cynicism of the whole historical project. They appear to unravel the nature of historical knowledge until we can't see what is left; they seem to undermine the professionalism of historians, trivialise the value of their archival research and doubt the integrity of all sources.