The Nine Cs of Historical Thinking

Readers of The Way of Improvement Leads Home might be confused by the title of this post.  Over the years I have promoted the “Five Cs” of historical thinking, which I took from Thomas Andrews and Flannery Burke’s essay “What Does It Mean to Think Historically.”  I extrapolated on Andrews and Burke on pp. xxiii-xxv of Was America Founded as a Christian Nation and develop their thoughts even further in my forthcoming Why Study History: Reflecting on the Importance of the Past.

Now Tim Lacy has added four more Cs to Andrews and Burke’s original five.  Here are his “Nine Cs” of historical thinking.  See how he develops each one of these Cs at his blog Thinking Through History.

1.  Change over time
2.  Context
3.  Causality
4.  Contingency
5.  Complexity
6.  Chronology
7.  Citations
8.  Conjecture
9.  Characters

He also adds “Storytelling” to the list despite the fact that it does not begin with C.

One thought on “The Nine Cs of Historical Thinking

  1. The 'S' is explained on line 1, para 2 of my post. There are 9 keywords that begin with the letter 'C', but then there's the 's'. So I got cute with that because I wanted to say something about narrative—the importance of narrative to historical thinking. I can't believe you didn't think that was 'cute'? Just kidding, of course, but I think it makes my “Nine Cs” memorable. – TL


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