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Writing Visual Histories

What can visual artifacts tell us about the past? How can we interpret them rigorously, weaving their formal and material qualities into rich social contexts to reach wider historical conclusions? Unfolding key historiographical and methodological issues, Writing Visual Histories equips students to answer these questions, showing visual analysis to be a key skill in historical research.


A multifaceted structure makes this a practical guide for writing and reflecting on visual histories. A first section includes six case studies -- on topics ranging from medieval heraldry to Life magazine. These examples are followed by an exploration of essential concepts that inform historical thinking about visual matters, a treatment of disciplinary practices, and discussion of the practicalities (such as accessing museum collections and organising permissions) that scholars working with visual sources have to navigate.


This book is an invaluable tool kit for opening up a historical understanding of visual phenomena and practices of looking, and for writing that takes an integrated approach to studies of the past.

Writing Visual Histories

  • Florence Grant and Ludmilla Jordanova

    A comprehensive exploration of how visual sources can elucidate the practice of history at a thematic and conceptual level.
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  • Book Details

    Imprint: Bloomsbury Academic
    Publication Date: 12-11-2020
    Format: Hardback | 234 x 156mm | 208 pages
  • About the Editors

    Florence Grant holds a PhD in History from King's College London and is currently an independent writer and editor based in Western North Carolina, USA

    Ludmilla Jordanova is Emeritus Professor of History and Visual Culture at Durham University, UK. She is also the author of History in Practice, 3rd Edition (Bloomsbury, 2019)

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