Longue durée

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The longue durée (French pronunciation:  [lɔ̃ɡ dyʁe] ; English: the long term) is an expression used by the French Annales School of historical writing to designate their approach to the study of history. [1] It gives priority to long-term historical structures over what François Simiand called histoire événementielle ("evental history", the short-term time-scale that is the domain of the chronicler and the journalist), concentrating instead on all-but-permanent or slowly evolving structures, and substitutes for elite biographies the broader syntheses of prosopography. The crux of the idea is to examine extended periods of time and draw conclusions from historical trends and patterns. [2]

François Simiand French academic

François Joseph Charles Simiand was a French sociologist and economist best known as a participant in the Année Sociologique. As a member of the French Historical School of economics, Simiand predicated a rigorous factual and statistical basis for theoretical models and policies. His contribution to French social science was recognized in 1931 when, at the age of 58, he was elected to the faculty of the Collège de France and accepted the chair in labor history.

A chronicle is a historical account of facts and events arranged in chronological order, as in a time line. Typically, equal weight is given for historically important events and local events, the purpose being the recording of events that occurred, seen from the perspective of the chronicler. This is in contrast to a narrative or history, which sets selected events in a meaningful interpretive context and excludes those the author does not see as important.

Journalist person who collects, writes and distributes news and other information

A journalist is a person who collects, writes, or distributes news or other current information to the public. A journalist's work is called journalism. A journalist can work with general issues or specialize in certain issues. However, most journalists tend to specialize, and by cooperating with other journalists, produce journals that span many topics. For example, a sports journalist covers news within the world of sports, but this journalist may be a part of a newspaper that covers many different topics.


The longue durée is part of a tripartite system that includes short-term événements and medium-term conjunctures (periods of decades or centuries when more profound cultural changes such as the industrial revolution can take place).

The approach, which incorporates social scientific methods such as the recently evolved field of economic history [3] into general history, was pioneered by Marc Bloch [4] and Lucien Febvre in the Interwar period. The approach was carried on by Fernand Braudel, [5] who published his views after becoming the editor of Annales in 1956. [6] In the second part of the century, Braudel took stock of the current status of social studies in crisis, foundering under the weight of their own successes, in an article in 1958, "Histoire et sciences sociales: La longue durée". [7] Among the works which Braudel remarked on as examples of the longue durée was Alphonse Dupront's study [8] of the long-standing idea in Western Europe of a crusade, which extended across diverse European societies far beyond the last days of the actual crusades, and among spheres of thought with a long life he noted Aristotelian science. [9] In the longue durée of economic history, beyond, or beneath, the cycles and structural crises, lie "old attitudes of thought and action, resistant frameworks dying hard, at times against all logic." [10] Braudel also stressed the importance of slow-changing geographic factors, like the constraints placed by the natural environment upon human production and communication. In the first volume of The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, for example, he described the tension between mountain dwellers and plain dwellers, with their different cultures and economic models, as a basic feature of Mediterranean history over thousands of years. [11]

Economic history is the study of economies or economic phenomena of the past. Analysis in economic history is undertaken using a combination of historical methods, statistical methods and the application of economic theory to historical situations and institutions. The topic includes financial and business history and overlaps with areas of social history such as demographic and labor history. The quantitative—in this case, econometric—study of economic history is also known as cliometrics.

Marc Bloch French historian and Resistance fighter

Marc Léopold Benjamin Bloch was a French historian. A founding member of the Annales School of French social history, he specialised in medieval history and published widely on Medieval France over the course of his career. As an academic, he worked at the University of Strasbourg, the University of Paris, and the University of Montpellier.

Lucien Febvre French historian

Lucien Paul Victor Febvre was a French historian best known for the role he played in establishing the Annales School of history. He was the initial editor of the Encyclopédie française together with Anatole de Monzie.

The history of the longue durée that informs Braudel's two masterworks [12] therefore offers a contrast to the archives-directed history that arose at the end of the 19th century, and a return to the broader views of the earlier generation of Jules Michelet, Leopold von Ranke, Jacob Burckhardt or Numa Denis Fustel de Coulanges. [13]

Jules Michelet French historian

Jules Michelet was a French historian. He was born in Paris to a family with Huguenot traditions.

Leopold von Ranke German historian and a founder of modern source-based history

Leopold von Ranke was a German historian and a founder of modern source-based history. According to Caroline Hoefferle, "Ranke was probably the most important historian to shape [the] historical profession as it emerged in Europe and the United States in the late 19th century". He was able to implement the seminar teaching method in his classroom and focused on archival research and analysis of historical documents. Building on the methods of the Göttingen School of History, Ranke set the standards for much of later historical writing, introducing such ideas as reliance on primary sources (empiricism), an emphasis on narrative history and especially international politics (Außenpolitik).

Jacob Burckhardt Swiss historian

Carl Jacob Christoph Burckhardt was a Swiss historian of art and culture and an influential figure in the historiography of both fields. He is known as one of the major progenitors of cultural history. Sigfried Giedion described Burckhardt's achievement in the following terms: "The great discoverer of the age of the Renaissance, he first showed how a period should be treated in its entirety, with regard not only for its painting, sculpture and architecture, but for the social institutions of its daily life as well." Burckhardt's best known work is The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (1860).

Averil Cameron, in examining the Mediterranean world in late antiquity concluded that "consideration of the longue durée is more helpful than the appeal to immediate causal factors." [14] Sergio Villalobos also expressly took the long view in his Historia del pueblo chileno.

Late antiquity period of transition from classical antiquity to the Middle Ages (Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Near East only)

Late antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from classical antiquity to the Middle Ages in mainland Europe, the Mediterranean world, and the Near East. The popularization of this periodization in English has generally been accredited to historian Peter Brown, after the publication of his seminal work The World of Late Antiquity (1971). Precise boundaries for the period are a continuing matter of debate, but Brown proposes a period between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Generally, it can be thought of as from the end of the Roman Empire's Crisis of the Third Century to, in the East, the early Muslim conquests in the mid-7th century. In the West the end was earlier, with the start of the Early Middle Ages typically placed in the 6th century, or earlier on the edges of the Western Roman Empire.

Sergio Villalobos Rivera is a Chilean historian, and Chilean National History Award in 1992. Among his most significant works is the Historia del pueblo Chileno.

Settler colonialism

Academics often apply Braudel's underlying logic of the longue durée to examine settler colonialism, an imperialistic style of colonization with a fixation on land, not resources. The notion, as outlined by historians, is supported by the claim that Manifest destiny, the impetus to British Imperialism, resulted in the large-scale devastation and destruction of Indigenous peoples in the Americas. [15]

Settler colonialism is a form of colonialism which seeks to replace the original population of the colonized territory with a new society of settlers. As with all forms of colonialism, it is based on exogenous domination, typically organized or supported by an imperial authority. Settler colonialism is enacted by a variety of means ranging from violent depopulation of the previous inhabitants, to more subtle, legal means such as assimilation or recognition of indigenous identity within a colonial framework. Although "the settler-colonial logic of elimination has manifested as genocidal", it is "not invariably" so.

Manifest destiny political catch phrase

Manifest destiny was a widely held belief in the 19th century United States that its settlers were destined to expand across North America. There are three basic themes to manifest destiny:

Minerva Campion details the nuances of a longue durée view of Amazonian colonization. She asserts that cultural and societal structures of Indigenous peoples in the Amazon fall apart at the hands of missionaries, ecologists, and oil conglomerates throughout history. [16] Historians also identify this pattern in United States history. For instance, American Progress , a 1872 painting by Brooklyn painter John Gast, provides an allegorical representation of U.S. westward expansion. The landscape portrays the east as warm and sophisticated and the west as dark and uncivilized—epitomizing the sense of disdain with which Americans viewed the Indigenous peoples. [17]

<i>American Progress</i> painting by John Gast

American Progress is an 1872 painting by John Gast, a Prussian-born painter, printer, and lithographer who lived and worked most of his life in Brooklyn, New York. American Progress, an allegory of Manifest Destiny, was widely disseminated in chromolithographic prints. It is now held by the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles, California.

Proponents of the longue durée assert that a broader, more macro synthesis of history elucidates long-term patterns and trends that would not otherwise be realized. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, one of many contemporary historians with expertise in this area, argues that U.S. and European Imperialism laid the foundation for a systemic type of xenophobia and settler colonialism that exists today. She describes settler colonialism as "inherently genocidal." [18] Pablo Mitchell also provides evidence in attempts to support the idea of modern-day settler colonialism; he writes that itinerant preacher Reies Tijerina of New Mexico noted in 1962 that forestland in the northern part of the state had been "illegally taken from the townspeople of the village of Chama" by the U.S. Government, who cited the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo as justification. [19]

For more information on misconceptions of settler colonialism, see: Dominant narrative - history - Indigenous Peoples in North America.

See also


  1. "longue durée | Definition of longue durée in English by Oxford Dictionaries". Oxford Dictionaries | English. Retrieved 2019-04-17.
  2. Grote, Mathias (2015). What could the 'longue duree' mean for the history of modern sciences?. Boston: Greenstone. p. 5.
  3. A "first key", according to Braudel 1958:731, who asserted (p. 734) "All the human sciences, history included, are contaminated by one another. They speak the same language, or can do so." ("Tous les sciences de l'homme, y compris l'histoire, sont contaminées les unes par les autres. Elles parlent le même langage ou peuvent le parler.")
  4. In this context Fernand Braudel (1958:734) remarked on the great distance between Bloch and the history writing of the mediaevalist and palaeographer Charles-Victor Langlois and Charles Seignobos, summed up in their joint Introduction aux Études Historiques (1897).
  5. Wesseling, H. L. (July 1981). "Fernand Braudel, Historian Of The 'Longue Durée'". Itinerario. 5 (2): 15–29. doi:10.1017/S0165115300007105. ISSN   2041-2827.
  6. Lee, Richard (2012). Fernand Braudel, the Longue Duree, and World Systems Analysis. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. p. 2.
  7. Published in Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales13.4 (October – December 1958), pp. 725–753; he returned in 1987 to examine with A. Coll the alliance between the new history and the social sciences, in "Histoire et sciences sociales: La longue durée" Réseaux, 5:27 1987:7–37.
  8. Dupront, Le Mythe de Croisade: essai de sociologie religieuse, 1959, reprinted without the subtitle 1997.
  9. Braudel 1958:732.
  10. "de vieilles attitudes de penser et d'agir, de cadres résistants, durs à mourir, parfois contre toute logique" (p. 733).
  11. Braudel, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, 2nd ed., vol. 1 (Paris: 1966), s. I.
  12. The effects of geography on human affairs sketched in the opening of The Mediterranean in the Time of Philip II and the first volume especially of Civilization and Capitalism: 15th–18th Century, with its evocative title The structures of everyday life: the limits of the possible.
  13. At least Braudel thought so, remarking the contrast and explicitly mentioning these particular 19th-century historians (Braudel 1958:729).
  14. Cameron, "Conclusion", The Mediterranean World in Late Antiquity AD 396–600, 1993:197.
  15. Barker, Adam J. (2012-12-01). "Locating Settler Colonialism". Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History. 13 (3). doi:10.1353/cch.2012.0035. ISSN   1532-5768.
  16. Campion, Minerva (2016). "The Construction of the Amazonian Borderlands through the Longue Durée: An Indigenous Perspective". Journal of Borderlands Studies. 33: 123–140. doi:10.1080/08865655.2016.1226926.
  17. "The History of United States Settler Colonialism – Hidden History Center" . Retrieved 2019-04-17.
  18. Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne (2015). An Indigenous People's History of the United States. Boston: Beacon Press. p. 9. ISBN   978-0-8070-5783-4.
  19. Mitchell, Pablo (2018). Understanding Latino History. Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood. p. 142. ISBN   9781440841699.

Sources and further reading

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