Doing History, Ch 1 What is History? R Scott Peoples, Fairview HS, Boulder, CO Historiography the study of the history and methodology of the discipline of history Also denotes a body of historical work on a
specialized topic or genre Historiography of Islam Military history Recent trends are away from traditional diplomatic, economic, political history toward
(esp.) social and cultural studies Result of the influence of postmodernist thought and the New Left idea of history from below Popular Memory If, as many have argued, the Civil
War is the most crucial moment in our national life and Gettysburg its turning point, then the climax of the climax, the central moment of our history, must be Pickett's ChargeOver the years, soldiers, journalists, veterans, politicians, orators, artists, poets, and
educators, Northerners and Southerners alike, shaped, revised, and even sacrificed the 'history' of the charge to create 'memories' that met ever-shifting needs and deeply felt values. University of North Carolina Press: http://uncpress.unc.edu/books/T261.html
Historys great philosophical divide Positivism Historicism History is science
Derives from Historians can idealism remain objective Historical Human behavior is objectivity governed by discois impossible
verable laws Each past age is Scientific Socialism distinct Past events History a Social Science shaped Historicism
Historical Context the events, or the climate of opinion, that surround the issue at hand. They help to understand its urgency, its importance, its shape, or even its timing. What was happening at the time of the event or the
decision that sheds some light on it? Provide historical context for this 2017 image: And this one, from 2009: And this one from 1945
And this one, from 1789 USA Today, 23 August 2015 Presentismmercilessly subjects history and historical figures to contemporary social enlightenment. It is smug and self-satisfied and pats itself on the back for its own highmindedness, but it is ignorant of context and
erects impossibly high obstacles to which virtually no major figure can measure up. Howard Schonberger, Purposes and Ends in History: Presentism and the New Left (ca 1973) Whats ahistorical about this image?
How about this one? Ahistorical (adj) lacking historical perspective or context Charges of ahistoricism are frequently critical, implying that the subject is historically inaccurate or ignorant (for
example, an ahistorical attitude). It can also describe a person's failure to frame an argument or issue in a historical context or to disregard historical fact or implication. An example of this would be films including dinosaurs and prehistoric human beings living side by side, even though they were in reality millions of years apart. It also can be descriptive of a view that history has no relevance or importance in the decision making of modern life.
The Audiopedia, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h_4KAjEeQQ (accessed 3 August, 2017) Ahistoricism: its not always this easy to spot If you ever have trouble spelling it,
just memorize this simple acronym: Both types of sources Possess values and limits All are history The Haiku Master of Room 615, MMXIV
Leopold von Ranke German Romantic nationalist who standardized historical
research methodology ypothesis = Research Questio tested against the evidence to arrive at Thesis = Historical Argument
Historical Schools Groups of like-minded academics Individual historians may or may not "officially" subscribe to one or more schools Changes in school over the course of an academic
career are not unheard of Some popular schools of the past are now defunct and/or discredited The Academy not a formal organization; term refers to the entire worldwide community of professional historians
Of course, if you actually become an academic historian, the arc of your research may look more like this Some schools and their eras (which are approximate, btw dont read too much into the points of the arrows) Marxist
Positivis t 1870 Gilded Age; 2nd Ind. Rev.
Progressi ve 1920 Annales 1950 Post-WWI;
Roaring 20s; Great Depression Progressive Era Consensu s
New Left Postmoder n 1970
Postmodernism Cold War; social unrest; decolonization Positivists Positivism First explored by the Greeks; modern approach
developed by August Comte in early 19th c. Thought the goal of science should be prediction Highly influential in the establishment of the field of sociology Certain or Positive Knowledge is based on natural
phenomena and their properties and relations Ergo, information derived from sensory experience, interpreted through reason and logic, forms the exclusive source of all certain knowledge Positivism is based on Empiricism Facts and evidence
Society is like the natural world: it works by natural laws Mark Linder, Positivism and Idealism in History, n.d. (post-1999) As a sociologist, Comte applied this positivist approach to history, believing "that historians would in due course uncover the
'laws' of historical development." History, as a science, has failed to generate these sorts of laws leading modern positivists to seek historical explanation through "the correct application of generalizations derived from other disciplines supposedly based on scientific method such as economics, sociology, and psychology."
Progressives Progressives Era roughly 1890-1920 Believed in using the power of government, not a reliance on charities, to effect social change Not necessarily leftist Prohibition was a Progressive
cause Progressive historians highly influential in 1 st half of 20th century Frederick Jackson Turner frontier thesis explained Americas past, justified future change
Charles Beard economic interpretation of the founding and Constitution of the US (a little cynical) Vernon Parrington discussed Progressive vs. Conservative conflict that predates the republic Murray Rothbard, Modern Historians Confront the American Revolution, Mises Institute, 2007 Inspired by the overall work on American history of Charles A.
Beard, the Progressives also posed a contrast to the constitutional or philosophic American motivations asserted by the older historians: namely, economic motivation and class interests. In short, the American leaders, in particular the wealthy merchants, struggled on behalf of their economic interests, against British restrictions and tax levies. Believing in the inevitability of class conflict, and seeing only the
merchants as driven by their economic interests toward rebellion, the Progressives then had to explain two things: the continuing recourse to ideas and ideology by the American leaders, and the adoption of this ideology by the mass of the public. To explain this, the Progressives fell back on the theory of "propaganda" popular in the 1920s and 1930s: that the ideology propounded by the leaders was mere windy rhetoric which they never believed. The "propaganda," they claimed, was used to dupe the
. masses into https://mises.org/library/modern-historians-co going along with the revolutionary agitation. nfront-american-revolution (accessed 12 August 2017) Annales
The Annales School Annales d'Histoire Economique et Sociale ("Annals of Economic and Social History"), founded in Paris, 1929 Methodology incorporates
the social sciences (anthropology, archaeology, criminology, economics, etc.) into historical research highly influential in Europe and Latin America
Annales historiography Social, geographic basis; generally hostile to Marxist class analysis Concerned with long-term factors Doesnt ask where are we going?, but rather, are we going anywhere? Questions the whole notion of progress
Emphasizes social, rather than diplomatic or political themes Jared Diamond: An example of an Annalesinfluenced
Geographic Determinist Annales Quotes Individuals, and even societies, are merely short- term ripples on mid-term waves subject to longterm tides. Fernand Braudel, French historian
[I]relegated the sensational to the sidelines and was reluctant to give a simple accounting of events, but strived on the contrary to pose and solve problems and, neglecting surface disturbances, to observe the long and medium-term evolution of economy, society and civilisation. Georges Duby, Le dimanche de Bouvines
Marxists Marxist Historians Historical Materialism Seeks the causes of developments and changes in human society in the means by which humans
collectively produce the necessities of life Revolutionary, violent progress through definite stages of development Tribal, Slavery, Feudalism,
Capitalism, Socialism Its the economy, stupid* For Marxist historians, economics dictate the strategy of history Individuals simply provide tactics
non-economic features of a society (e.g. social classes, political structures, ideologies) are seen as being an outgrowth of its economic activity All conflict arises from friction between the ownership classes and the exploited working classes
* Im not calling you stupid this was written on a scrap of paper that famously hung in Bill Clintons 1992 election headquarters to remind workers of what the campaign was ultimately about Conflict between the haves and the have-nots has always been inevitable Marx on Marxist History
It is not history which uses men as a means of achieving - as if it were an individual person its own ends. History is nothing but the activity of men in pursuit of their ends. Marxist- and marxist Historiography
Marxist history is deterministic (i.e., society, guided by economic factors, is heading toward an historical end in this case, a classless society), but with an emphasis on the Dialectic (change) and class conflict Ex: Most Soviet-era Eastern Bloc historians Small-m marxist historians use Marxist methodology
(ie, Cliometrics) and the language of class conflict, but are not necessarily Communists, and are usually not as deterministic Ex: Eric Hobsbawm (UK); EP Thompson (UK); Howard Zinn (Socialist, US)
A Major Problem with Marxist Historiography If history is always unfolding the same way (ie, class conflict) as it marches toward a predetermined outcome, then doesnt doing history become an exercise in just making the pieces fit together?
Influence of Marxist Histories History from Below - historical narrative which attempts to account for historical events from the perspective of common people rather than political and other leaders or the wealthy upper classes
Focus on disenfranchised communities, most often from a leftist/progressive perspective EX: Howard Zinn, A Peoples History of the United States (1996) Influence of Marxist Histories Cliometrics study of source materials (tax
ledgers, census data, baptismal records, etc) in order to tell the history of groups without a tradition of scholarship In the past, this meant the proletariat (q/v, Marc Bloch, Feudal Society (1964)) Nowadays, cliometrics used to study groups like
women and enslaved peoples Consensus Consensus Historians School of US historians, especially prominent during the early Cold War (1945-1965)
Emphasized continuity and unity of basic American ideals and values Rejected Progressive ideas of class conflict said they were superficial and lacked complexity Great Consensus Historians: Richard Hofstadter - emphasis on ideas and political culture
rather than the day-to-day doings of politicians Daniel Boorstein - inventors and entrepreneurs as central to the American success story David Potter studied causes of Civil War; emphasized states rights over slavery (The Impending Crisis, 18481861 published 1976) Conservatives in their Time Though they very definitely represented a
conservative backlash to the Progressives, the Consensus historians might not be considered very far-right nowadays: [Consensus historians] argued that the New Deal was a conservative movement that built a welfare state, guided by experts, that saved
rather than transformed liberal capitalism. Lary May, "Review," Journal of American History (December 2010) 97#3 p 765 Richard Hofstadter, American Political Tradition (1948) The fierceness of the political struggles has
often been misleading: for the range of vision embraced by the primary contestants in the major parties has always been bounded by the horizons of property and enterprise. However much at odds on specific issues, the major political traditions have shared a belief in the rights of property, the philosophy of
economic individualism, the value of competition; they have accepted the economic virtues of capitalist culture as necessary qualities of man. New Left The New Left New Left historiography grew out of the
social turbulence of the late 1950s and 1960s Revisionist approach that both reflected and helped to define the way its own and subsequent generations would regard history Main Stances of the New Left Opposition to Corporate Liberalism defined as the
purported collusion between political and business elites (and sometimes labor unions) to stabilize the economy and suppress a radical leftist alternative History from the Bottom a focus on the resistance of poor to the oppression of the power elites, with special emphasis on violent and revolutionary change
Criticism of US Foreign Policy American expansion and international power-mongering since the late 19th century seen as motivated by greed and corrupt morals The New Left New Left historiography focused, not always
congruently, on the machinations of the powerful and the resistance of the powerless. The historical scholarship paralleled contemporary developments: The post-New Deal state of the 1950s seemed feckless and enervated to these young historians (and then, during the 60s, criminal), and the civil rights and anti-war movements in which many of them participated
were great upsurges of mass protest that encouraged scholars to seek historical precedents. Rich Yeselson, What New Left History Gave Us, Democracy Journal (2015) Criticism of the
New Left There was a time when the necessity of industrialization was the crusading slogan of Western liberals, which justified anything and whitewashed any atrocity, including the wholesale slaughter in Soviet Russia. We do not hear that slogan any longer. Confronted with the choice of an industrial civilization or collectivism, it is an
industrial civilization that the liberals discarded. Confronted with the choice of technology or dictatorship, it is technology that they discarded. Confronted with the choice of reason or whims, it is Post-Modernists Effects of Postmodernism
widespread disillusionment with life, as well as the power of existing value-systems and/or technology to effect beneficial change (cynicism) authority, expertise, knowledge and eminence of achievement have become discredited new educational priorities, which begin to emphasize the pursuit of skills rather than knowledge for its
own sake creativity and interpretation have become as (or more) important than the gradual acquisition of masterly skills powerful new technologies allow traditional paths of skills acquisition to be bypassed (ie, you dont have to pay your dues on the way to becoming famous)
What roots of conflict do you see in this chart? The simplified version
Or even simpler Postmodernism: A voice for the historically oppressed, or an exercise in
pretense? The remainder of the chapter addresses: Historical argument Varieties of history Political, military, diplomatic, empire &
colonialism Intellectual, religious Economic, social, cultural Public History The integrity of history and the evil of plagiarism Regional and local history vis--vis national
history Replacement of Western Civ with World Jared Stroik, The Massacre at Acre Mark of a Blood-thirsty King? (2009) In regard to Richard Is reputation, it cannot be said that this was a blood-thirsty act or that this was a
deliberate act of policy. It is very likely that, had Saladin paid the ransom and returned the True Cross, the prisoners would have been exchanged. The sources make clear that the Christian forces eagerly anticipated the ransomand especially the return of the True Crossand allowed Saladin to delay several times before taking action. Although there was likely an emotional motivation behind the
massacre, it cannot be said that the decision to execute the prisoners was any more than a last resort and strategic decision. 1883 1912
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