Publication Details

Gaffikin, M. J. (2010). What is (accounting) history?. The 6th Accounting History International Conference: "Accounting and the State" (pp. 1-17). Wellington, New Zealand: University of Wellington.


I am grateful for the invitation to present this paper to you today. I have had a long association with Victoria University and as an undergraduate here I was introduced to the fathers of history - Herodotus and Thucydides. Unfortunately, although I had to read their main works, at the time I remained oblivious to their full significance, namely, that they represent two extremes of historiography that have remained throughout the history of history - two approaches to how history is created and written. These themes are the background for this paper. However, before I go any further I want to make a clarification - Philip was keen that my presentation remain consistent with the theme of the conference - history and the state. This is not difficult as the great majority of written history has been about "the state". Both Herodotus and Thucydides were, of course, writing histories of the state , namely Athens. And, of course, if we are considering theories of history we can recall that Plato pointed out, any theory of man (sic), implicit or explicit, will be reflected in a theory of the state (cf Rist, 2002, pp 228 - 229).

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Accounting History International Conference



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