Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-ndmmz Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-25T21:48:37.977Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

E-story, or the New Hollywood Myth

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 April 2017

Claudia Moatti*
Université de Paris 8and, The University of Southern California


David Armitage and Jo Guldi’s History Manifesto has sparked an important debate in the United States. This article criticizes three specific aspects of their work. First, it takes issue with their description of a “moral crisis” of history, which they postulate without any discussion of serious epistemological and political issues. Second, it calls into question their enthusiasm for technological solutions, an ideological stance highlighted by their call for a return to long-term history and large-scale syntheses relying on the crunching of vast quantities of digitized data. Finally, it interrogates their conception of the utility of history, a notion that reveals serious confusion between research, teaching, and popularization and supports their unquestioning acceptance of the direction taken by institutions of higher learning. Although the scientism and positivism expressed in their manifesto illuminate their lack of attention to, and perhaps simply awareness of, the slow construction and transmission of accumulated knowledge, they do reflect the prevailing intellectual nonchalance and philosophical regression. The authors’ vision would see the replacement of “history” by “e-story,” the dissolution of historicity and scholarly critique and their substitution by techno-chronology and marketing.

Debating the Longue Durée
Copyright © Les Éditions de l’EHESS 2015

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


1. Noiriel, Gérard, Sur la “crise” de l’histoire (Paris: Belin, 1996)Google Scholar.

2. Armitage, David and Guldi, Jo, “The Return of the Longue Durée: An Anglo-American Perspective,” Annales HSS (English Version) 70, no. 2 (2015): 219–47 Google Scholar, here p. 232.

3. Ibid., 221.

4. Chanteau, Julien, “L’archéologie virtuelle,” Médium 35, no. 2 (2013): 95–111 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

5. Skinner, Quentin, The Return of Grand Theory in the Human Sciences (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 184 Google Scholar.

6. Traverso, Enzo, L’histoire comme champ de bataille. Interpréter les violences du XXe (Paris: La Découverte, 2011), 40 Google Scholar.

7. Toynbee, Arnold J., The Study of History, vol. 1, Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1934), 15–50 Google Scholar.

8. See the reflection of Chevalier, Jean-Yves, “Le paradoxe du continu,” Médium 35, no. 2 (2013): 52–71 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

9. Veyne, Paul, Writing History: Essay on Epistemology, trans. Moore-Rinvolucri, Mina (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1984), 134.Google Scholar

10. Riot-Sarcey, Michèle, Le procès de la liberté. Une histoire souterraine du XIXe siècle (Paris: La Découverte, 2016)Google Scholar.

11. Détienne, Marcel, Comparing the Incomparable, trans. Lloyd, Janet (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008)Google Scholar.

12. Graeber, David, Debt: The First 5,000 Years (New York: Melville House, 2011)Google Scholar.

13. Price, David H., Weaponizing Anthropology: Social Science in Service of the Militarized State (Oakland: AK Press, 2011)Google Scholar.

14. Cicero, De finibus bonorum et malorum 5.2.5–6.

15. de Certeau, Michel, The Writing of History, trans. Conley, Tom (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988)Google Scholar.