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Archive for January 27th, 2007

Any research suggestions?

For my term paper in my Historiography class, I’m kicking around the idea of expanding a single footnote in an earlier paper into a full length paper in its own right.

This is, of course, a very dangerous thing to attempt, as footnotes are generally footnotes because they don’t require anything near 30 pages to deal with.  I’m worried that a historical paper on the rather nebulous concept of the perpetuation of a misreading would seem frivolous, so I’m kicking around ways to discuss the issue from structural or philosophical perspectives as well as the simple historical fact of quoting a misquote.  Therefore, I’m trying to see if there are any discussions of the progression of historical knowledge – the circulation and perpetuation of a particular statement.  Put simply, the idea that one scholar’s assertion in a particular text can become canonical due to the marginalization or unavailability of the primary text.

Unfortunately, one of two things is occuring in my pursuit of this topic…

Either I am ridiculously terrible at finding books and articles in which scholars analyze historical methods, or there is no particular scholarship in this area…  Books on the footnote seem to be simply historical works in their own right, with no pretensions to philosophizing or discussion of the concept of historical error.  The “circulation of knowledge” is discussed more in computer research and statistical terms.  I’m finding absolutely nothing on the actual problems posed by scholarly methods and lackluster working habits…

So, does anyone have a book or article they would suggest that I look through before I abandon the topic as impossible?

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