HIST-8 lec.1: Studying History

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  • 1. Welcome! HIST-8 US History through Reconstruction
  • 2. Studying History: Why and How?
  • 3. WHY?
  • 4. I Herodotus of Halicarnassus, am here setting forth my history, that time may not draw the color from what man has brought into being, nor those great and wonderful deeds, manifested by both the Greeks and the Barbarians, fail of their report, and together with all of this, the reason why they fought one another. (Herodotus, The Histories) “History repeats itself” ? History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes. (Mark Twain)
  • 5. creatio inventio The Ancient of Days (William Blake, 1794)
  • 6. “Knowledge is power!” Deciding vs. reacting Forming an opinion vs. accepting an option
  • 7. HOW?
  • 8. History is a science. • Empiricism • A three-part process 1. Fact, data 2. Analysis, interpretation 3. Application, reflection Truth vs. Fact
  • 9. Get your facts first; then you can distort them as you please. (Mark Twain) Application Analysis, Interpretation Fact, Data
  • 10. Two types of sources • Primary sources • Secondary sources – textual • e.g. letters, documents, records, literature, music – visual • e.g. paintings, sculptures, architecture – physical – textbooks, books, articles, documentaries – ask the nerds • scholarly sources • scholarly consensus • journalists and “popular” history books • e.g. tools, textiles, weapons, vehicles, earthworks Caveat: ask the right questions anachronism presentism ideological bias
  • 11. Logic Inductive Reasoning small  large data  conclusion increase Deductive Reasoning conclusion  data large  small decrease
  • 12. Case Study: Konrad von Hochstaden (c.1200-1261 AD)
  • 13. • Deductive reasoning: start with an idea/conclusion – Idea • Konrad was a powerful and respected man in the ecclesiastical and secular life of thirteenth-century Cologne. – Data • • • • • He was archbishop of that important archdiocese. He commissioned the building of Cologne Cathedral. He was given a massive, ornate tomb in Cologne Cathedral. His tomb rests in the holy, prestigious east nave. His effigy stands among other dignitaries on the walls of the Cologne rathaus (city hall).
  • 14. • Inductive reasoning: start with the data – Data • He was archbishop of that important archdiocese. – He used force to wrest the reins of civic power from the burghers of the city and taxed its citizens heavily. – He led armies against claimants to the Holy Roman Empire and papal forces. • He commissioned the building of Cologne Cathedral. – …paid for in part by those high taxes • He was given a massive, ornate tomb in Cologne Cathedral. – … or, he gave himself one. • His tomb rests in the holy, prestigious east nave. – 40 years after his death it was moved to a tiny corner chapel – it was only moved back to the east nave by modern restorers • His effigy stands among other dignitaries on the walls of the Cologne rathaus (city hall). – it was carved there about 200 years after his death – Let’s have a closer look at how the citizens of Colongne remembered him…
  • 15. • Inductive reasoning: start with the data – Data • He was archbishop of that important archdiocese. – He used force to wrest the reins of civic power from the burghers of the city and taxed its citizens heavily. – He led armies against claimants to the Holy Roman Empire and papal forces. • He commissioned the building of Cologne Cathedral. – …paid for in part by those high taxes • He was given a massive, ornate tomb in Cologne Cathedral. – … or, he gave himself one. • His tomb rests in the holy, prestigious east nave. – 40 years after his death it was moved to a tiny corner chapel – it was only moved back to the east nave by modern restorers • His effigy stands among other dignitaries on the walls of the Cologne rathaus (city hall). – it was carved there about 200 years after his death – Let’s have a closer look at how the citizens of Colongne remembered him… – Idea • Konrad was powerful but hatefully remembered. –  Why?
  • 16. • Archaeology – earthworks – numismatics – pre-literate & illiterate populations
  • 17. Coat-men Sword-men Iron-workers Cloth-makers Iron People • Anthropology – pre-literate or illiterate societies – marginal populations – behaviors – beliefs – ritual, ceremony – symbolism – folklore
  • 18. • Philology – from manuscript to critical edition – semantics • Linguistics – language change • Paleography – manuscript history – transcription
  • 19. Femina = fe + minus History = his + story
  • 20. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people! "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? If I forget thee, 0 Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth." Fellow-citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, "may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!" To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. (Douglass, 1852) • Literary criticism – stylistic devices – genre, conventions – theme, imagery, symbolism
  • 21. • Art criticism & art history – technique, media – genre, conventions – symbolism
  • 22. Revisionism Empiricism Post-colonialism Marxism Feminism Structuralism Freudian Psychohistory Postmodernism
  • 23. • Revisionism – debunk and overturn traditional historical narratives of western culture – empirical but biased • Post-Colonialism – “History is written by the victors.” – Over 80% of the earth has been ruled by Europeans in the past few centuries. – empirical but biased • Marxism – most important historical paradigm since ‘70’s – “history from below” – social and economic determinedness of history (vs. individual initiative) – Karl Marx • historical context • political theorist vs. historian
  • 24. • Marxism – historical materialism • human societies depend on material goods • human action and consciousness are determined by material goods …life involves before everything else eating and drinking, a habitation, clothing and many other things. The first historical act is thus the production of the means to satisfy these needs, the production of material life itself. … The history of all societies existing up to now has been the history of class struggles. Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given, and transmitted to them from the past. (Marx)
  • 25. Revisionism Empiricism Post-colonialism Marxism Feminism Structuralism Freudian Psychohistory Postmodernism
  • 26. • Postmodernism – We cannot access historical truth. • all meaning is constructed by an ever-changing discourse of signifiers – Structuralism: • Meaning occurs within systems of signification. All discourse is constructed of ever-changing systems of signification. – For example: • “The cat jumped.” My idea of the idea “cat” = the idea “cat” + a word for or image of a “cat.” A 17th-century Latvian nun’s Sign = signified + signifier. • A sign’s meaning also includes the différence between itslf and its “other” or “stranger.” (e.g. “woman”) That différence is always changing. Therefore we can never access a original meaning in a past system of signification (e.g. what a sign (such as an event or text or word) meant to someone in history). In fact, there is no such thing as fact or truth because all systems of signification are constantly evolving. A discourse is re-shaped each time we interpret it, like light particles moving an electron. • Therefore all interpretations and readings of history are valid (or equally invalid).
  • 27. In western civilization: • Mesopotamia (5000 - 500) Other useful terms & notation • BC BC • Greece (1200 - 300) – Before Christ – BCE • AD – Anno Domini – CE • the ____th century • Egypt (3000 - 900) • Rome (500 BC - AD 500) • Middle Ages (500 - 1500) AD • Renaissance (1400 - 1600) • Early modern (1600’s) • Eighteenth Century (1700’s) • Nineteenth Century (1800’s) • Twentieth Century (1900’s) – As a noun: “1854 is in the nineteenth century.” – As an adjective: “Some seventeenth-century hairstyles look like bird nests.” • c.1500 – c. = circa, “around” • d. 1500 – d. = “died” • r.1558-1603 – r. = “reigned”
  • 28. • • • • • • • • • • material culture tactics strategy secular hegemony monarchy republic democracy suffrage anarchy