6.7.05

The fantasy that is history

Everything that has ever existed in the past is no more. All our archives and archeological founding are clues to give us some idea of the past, but there is no more past. It has become present, and glides into future. Historians have the job to reconstruct the past, in order to correct the sense of history, but in picking their subjects of research they are mostly adding their own sense of history. In this fashion history directly correlates with the present minds of historians. In imperialist times historians wrote national histories. In revolutionary times, historians wrote revolutionary histories and now we write world histories, gender histories and cultural histories. Still, governments pay historians to do this. Apparently historical research has some value.

Still, there is growing awareness of this historical subjectivity and more and more scholars define their field of research and point at it's shortcomings before they start their own exposition. But is it possible to bring this awareness to the people?

3 Comments:

At 9:57 AM, Anonymous evert said...

He man,

The fact that governments spend on history research is no proof of that research having any value. I do agree that historians cannot get around a time dictated view. However, noone can get around this view. Everyone is caught within a horizon through which we view the world, historians can only fit into this horizon to achieve a succesful description of history in the eyes of others, and his own.

 
At 1:15 PM, Blogger jonathan even-zohar said...

-How else can you measure value? I thought money spent by governments was a good indicator for value.

 
At 8:49 PM, Anonymous steven said...

That the government spents money, only indicates that they value it. History can be biast by that fact. Historians must eat. I value history because we can learn from te past

 

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