I and Rosenberg in particular spoke about why walking - using the eyes of history to examine the traces and parallels in the past - is an activist practice, and one connected directly with politically activist histories. Morris picked up on this also, observing how when on a walk of suffragette London, his group tried to find monuments to any women en route and failed to find any.
I'm currently working on various seminar papers, and the mood among many historians is that we need theory back in history. James Vernon made an impassioned plea for a return to theory in his plenary lecture for the 2011 Social History Society conference. Basically his message was 'what are we afraid of?' A focus on empiricism has meant we have lost sight of the big ideas, and the big frameworks that shape history. The SHS used to have a theory strand for its conference, but we dropped it a few years ago because the number of papers offered was in decline. In response to Joyce, however, the SHS has reintroduced the 'theory and methods' strand for the next conference. Perhaps this is a sign that theory is back on the agenda.
I too have neglected theory for the past few years. I went on a cultural geography bender in the last year of my DPhil research, and also immersed myself in social movement studies. My first article, 'The Search for General Ludd' was imb…
In it, Stone bemoans a return to a narrative style of writing history in reaction to the social science methods of research prevalent in the 1960s.
Moreover, what intrigued me more were Stone's points about the then vogue for computational history or 'history and computers' or even 'cliometrics' strike an interesting precedent for the same complaints that are being raised about digital history today