Traditional historiography has come under attack in the past two decades from a number of theoretical positions including postmodernism, postcolonialism and the literary theory of cultural studies. The ability of historians to be objective and to establish the truth is now widely disparaged.
Keith Windschuttle offers a critique of the critics. Using a number of historical examples, he demonstrates the incoherence of their position. He shows their arguments are self-contradictory and that they have to assume the existence of historical truth in order to deny it. Traditional empirical history, he argues, still remains among the most valuable intellectual heritage of Western culture. Its alternative is nothing but a form of nihilistic, intellectual tribalism.
Windschuttle is an historian and publisher who is a frequent contributor to The New Criterion, New York, and Quadrant, Sydney. He is author of The Killing of History: How Literary Critics and Social Theorists Are Murdering Our Past, fourth edition, Encounter Books, San Francisco, 2000, and five other books. He is a member of The Historical Society and a recent contributor to its journal. He is publisher of Macleay Press, Sydney, and is a former academic who taught history and social policy at the University of New South Wales and other Australian universities. His principal research interests are historiography, especially of Australian and American history, and the theories of history of the modern era.