Metafiction and the study of history: makerly knowledge in the archive

D. Graham Burnett, Jeff Dolven, Catherine L. Hansen, Justin E.H. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rapid changes in the context and condition of historical practice (technological, institutional, theoretical) invite practicing historians to entertain experimental techniques for engaging the past: for teaching students; for investigating archives; and for presenting the results of historical inquiry. The authors introduce a form of historically oriented research and writing that shows promise as a way of encouraging genuine immersion in the specificity and alterity of the past. This ‘metahistorical’ mode, which engages with historical fiction, but also with traditions of rigorous scholarly research, offers a powerful means by which to cultivate historical consciousness, and to promote imaginative historical practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-557
Number of pages21
JournalRethinking History
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History


  • Historiography
  • historical consciousness
  • historical fiction
  • metafiction
  • pedagogical practices in history
  • theory of history


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