NOTE TO INSTRUCTORS -- OPTIONAL TRIM Slides 15 – 25 //
The point of this lecture, really, is to think about history as a process with methods, and historians as people with different motives that reflect their cultures. “History” isnt just carved in stone.
Can you name other humanities? ( Language, literature, philosophy, religion,music, theatre, Some also considered social sciences -- Anthropology, communication, law, linguistics ) What fields of study are not humanities? Historians resist “scientific” approach, not everything can be quantified. What happens when individuals lose their memories? (Alzheimers) What happens when cultures lose their memories? (doomed to repeat history – George Santayana / more on Santayana below)
For Class: What is depicted here, and who are the names in gold? The figure of History, in the mosaic's center, holds a pen and book. Clio, muse of history, one of 9 muses.On both sides of her, there are tablets mounted in a marble wall with benches on either side of the tablets. The tablets contain the names of great historians. One tablet contains the names of the ancient historians Herodotus and Thucydides in brighter gold, followed by Polybius, Livy, Tacitus, Bæda, Comines. The other tablet contains the name of the modern historians Hume and Gibbon in brighter gold, along with Niebuhr, Guizot, Ranke, and the Americans Bancroft and Motley. At the foot of one of the tablets is a laurel wreath symbolizing peace, and at the foot of the second tablet is an oak wreath symbolizing war. A palm branch designating success rests against the wreaths and tablets.The female figure on one side of History is Mythology. As the symbol of the theories of the universe, she holds a globe of the earth in her left hand. The Greeks' female sphinx to her right represents the eternally insoluble Riddle of the World. Tradition, the aged woman seated on the other side of History, represents medieval legend and folk tales. She is shown in the midst of relating her old wives' tales to the young boy seated before her. The distaff in her lap, the youth with a harp in his hand (a reference to the wandering minstrel of the Middle Ages), and the shield are reminders of a past age. The mosaic includes ancient buildings from the three nations of antiquity with highly developed histories: an Egyptian pyramid, a Greek temple, and a Roman amphitheater.Along with the mosaic panel representing Law above the north fireplace, this mosaic was prepared in Venice, Italy and sent to the Jefferson Building to be put into place. Both mosaics were made of pieces, or tesserae, which were fitted together to provide subtle gradations in color.(Much of the preceding text is derived from the Library of Congress's virtual tour of the Thomas Jefferson Building.)Frederick Dielmanhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:History-Dielman-Highsmith.jpegDate 1896
OPTIONAL FOR INSTRUCTOR:Assignment -- Select one of 40 historians in this section. We’ll be talking about some of them. The point is that if a class in media history is still a class in history, and you should know something about the variety of approaches to history. Find three references for the historian (aside from wikipedia) and write complete, accurate bibliographic entries. Read the Wikipedia article and one other reference. Compare the two in your report back to class. Five paragraph paper due in one week. ID the person, life dates, significance, background, nationality, major ideas, major publications, awards, and criticism or alternative viewpoints. HeroditusThucydides PolybiusLivyTacitusBædaCominesHumeGibbonNiebuhr, Guizot, Von Ranke, BancroftMotleyBarbara Tuchman BernardinoCroceGeorges Santayana H.G. Wells Lord John Acton Allan Nevins Arnold ToynbeeOswald SpenglerKarl Marx Herbert Butterfield Francis Fukuyama Jean BaudrillardElizabeth Eisenstein Walter Lippmann Terence MoranUpton Sinclair Max WeberMichael SchudsonMichel Foucault Theodor W. AdornoWalter Benjamin JürgenHabermasMarshall McLuhan Harold Innis
T said of H: To hear this history rehearsed, for that there be inserted in it no fables, shall be perhaps not delightful. But he that desires to look into the truth of things done, and which (according to the condition of humanity) may be done again, or at least their like, shall find enough herein to make him think it profitable. And it is compiled rather for an everlasting possession than to be rehearsed for a prize.
This is a little obvious, perhaps even trite. But it’s a fairly good metaphor about why history tends to be important to people. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUeEvMSlpFI&list=ALBTKoXRg38BCnuENfQbv8Yfvvv2rWLaKK John McCutcheon -- song – Water from another time -- It don’t take much but you gotta have some, the old ways help the new ways come, leave a little extra for the next in line, water from another time.
Among the progressive era historians, the idea of a moral history was important. “History is the dressing room of politics” (Eugin Weber)."A Modern History of Europe: Men, Cultures, and Societies from the Renaissance to the Present (1971)"
Vie esteisenshaftgvessen / So a history of the battle of Waterloo by German, French or British historian would be pretty much the same. Note that Von Ranke’s history of the Protestant Reformation makes almost no mention of printing – Elizabeth Eisenstein wonders about that kind of omission
. (As opposed to Von Ranke but also predictable history as opposed to Arnold J. Toynbee, (1889–1975), A Study of History, world history Also Croce did not agree with John Locke about the nature of liberty. Croce believed that liberty is not a natural right but an earned right that arises out of continuing historical struggle for its maintenance.
Weber became interested in history when, as a boy in Romania, he became aware of social injustices: "It was my vague dissatisfaction with social hierarchy, the subjection of servants and peasants, the diffuse violence of everyday life in relatively peaceful country amongst apparently gentle folk". A 2010 biography by Stanford Franklin, "Eugen Weber The Greatest Historian of our Times: Lessons of Greatness to the Future" presents Weber's life and works in positive terms. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugen_WeberWeber is associated with several important academic arguments. His book: "Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France 1870-1914", for instance, is a classic presentation of modernization theory. Although other historians such as Henri Mendras had put forward similar theories about the modernization of the French countryside, Weber's book was amongst the first to focus on changes in the period between 1870 and 1914. Weber emphasizes that well into the 19th century few French citizens regularly spoke French, but rather regional languages or dialects such as Breton, Gascon, Basque, Catalan, Flemish, Alsatian, and Corsican. Even in French-speaking areas provincial loyalties often transcended the putative bond of the nation. Between 1870 and 1914, Weber argued, a number of new forces penetrated the previously isolated countryside. These included the judicial and school systems, the army, the church, railways, roads, and a market economy. The result was the wholesale transformation of the population from "peasants," basically ignorant of the wider nation, to Frenchmen.
Among the progressive era historians, the idea of a moral history was important.
Like Acton, Tuchman is a moralist Here she’s pointing out what I like to call the Hubble Bias -- (Note similarity to George Gerbner’s Cultivation Theory) QuoteFrom: A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th CenturyIn 1985, Saturday Review magazine named her one of the country's "Most Overrated People in American Arts and Letters," commenting that "over the years [she has made] an unhappy transition from writing history as a moral lesson to writing moral lessons as history.”
This is sort of like Tuchman’s observation
In recent years, many historians have moved away from objective and progressive national histories, focusing instead on cultural history or other smaller topics. Cultural history might involve the history of ideas, history of technology, women’s history, black history, environmental history and many others not yet explored. Yet history as a discipline, as Novick has noted, has not moved any closer towards a resolution of the fragmentation.
For example, the TV series Mad Med is set in the 1950s and 60s, but there are anachronisms that show up -- http://www.vulture.com/2013/04/18-mad-men-anachronisms-spotted-by-the-internet.html
These labels represent ideas or issues or modes of thinking about history This is not a list of good or bad things, but things to be aware of when we look at history Historicism is the idea that you cant understand something without understanding its context. So for historians its generally good. Historicism was attacked by a philosopher of science named Karl Popper for pretending to understand“inexorable laws of historical destiny – But that’s determinism. There’s an argument about what Popper intended with his “poverty of historicism” attack but I think it had to do with the need for a less relative and more positivistic approach to history. WDeterminism is when something is seen as a major factor in determining history. So when McLuhan says the Medium is the Message, for example, he’s saying the medium is determining the message. In that sense he was a strong determinist. Others who say the medium influences the message might be weak determinists. Chronological snobbery – Ex “Things were better when we were young, let me tell you, whippersnappers.” (Or, typical variation: “Things were harder when we were young, you don’t know how good you have it.”) Either way, if you’re young, you are getting the tail end of chronological snobbery. Historians fallacy is not like presentism / whig history / Historians fallacy is when we assume that THEY (in the past) knew what we know now. In effect it ignores the fog of war. Presentism (whig history) is when WE assume that there is an inevitability in the past. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historian%27s_fallacy Fog of war: Douglas Southall Freeman bio Robt E Lee used fog of war as factor in many of Lees decisions, especially for instance the order for Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg Revisionism – Re-consideration of orthodox views (sometimes negative, but not usually) Reinterpretation of orthodox views on evidence, motivations, and decision-making processes surrounding a historical event. Though the word revisionismis sometimes used in a negative way, for instance: Holocaust denial is one form of revisionism that is viewed very negatively, and with good reason. History should always be open to evidence – based challenges. Constant debate and challenges are part of the normal scholarly process. But the evidence fails in Holocaust denialism, so the attempt to revise history also fails. For really interested students, the David Irving / Deborah Lipstadt trial of 2000 is an interesting episode in denialism. Whig history is nexthttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presentism_%28literary_and_historical_analysis%29
Bancroft is US example of progressive history But is objectivity really the problem? What we call Whig history todayhonors the heroes, emphasizes progress, ignores the roads not taken, de-emphasizes minorities, and generally glorifies the inevitable present. Whig history is what happens when the winners get to write history. Macaulay’s history was biased towards progress and liberalism – Butterfield didn’t think that was a bad thing, but he wanted people to understand the method was flawed and not very critical. Quote from Macaulay: I should very imperfectly execute the task which I have undertaken if I were merely to treat of battles and sieges, of the rise and fall of administrations, of intrigues in the palace, and of debates in the parliament. It will be my endeavour to relate the history of the people as well as the history of the government, to trace the progress of useful and ornamental arts, to describe the rise of religious sects and the changes of literary taste, to portray the manners of successive generations and not to pass by with neglect even the revolutions which have taken place in dress, furniture, repasts, and public amusements. I shall cheerfully bear the reproach of having descended below the dignity of history, if I can succeed in placing before the English of the nineteenth century a true picture of the life of their ancestors. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1468/1468-h/1468-h.htm Also, Macaulay was aware of the problem / There are two opposite errors into which those who study the annals of our country are in constant danger of falling, the error of judging the present by the past, and the error of judging the past by the present. The former is the error of minds prone to reverence whatever is old, the latter of minds readily attracted by whatever is new. The former error may perpetually be observed in the reasonings of conservative politicians on the questions of their own day. The latter error perpetually infects the speculations of writers of the liberal school when they discuss the transactions of an earlier age. The former error is the more pernicious in a statesman, and the latter in a historian. (The History of England, from the Accession of James II — Volume 2)
This illustration by James Gilray, May 5, 1783 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Gillray(The name Whig derives from a derogatory nickname for Scottish parliamentarians, whiggamores, which meant cattle drivers.) Cartoon shows a carousel on which sit government ministers Charles Fox, Lord North, Edmund Burke and Admiral Keppel. Beam in the center of the carousel platform is a pillar topped by a bust of King George III, a wig and Union Jack suspended over the bust. In the background two robbers lower a large bundle from the window of a building. An inscription above the cartoon reads "Poor John Bull's house plunder'd at noon day.”W. Humphrey, 1783 May 5th.Puns include wig for Whig and block for the device for beheading, the head-shaped device for forming wigs, and blockhead as in stupid person. Burke is dressed as a Jesuit, is reading from Sublime and Beautiful, and has a skeleton for a leg. (The name Tory derives from tóraí, an insulting Irish term for brigand.)
This is an example of a view of American history that is Whiggish – That is, it depicts positive, inevitable progress, it ignores problems (note the Indians and buffalo fleeing …) Questions: Where is this? (Manhattan island background Brooklyn Bridge) Was there telegraph service or railroads across the US at this time? Notes on this painting: “ As students begin to describe what they see, they quickly realize that they’re looking at a kind of historical encyclopedia of transportation technologies. The simple Indian travois precedes the covered wagon and the pony express, the overland stage and the three railroad lines. The static painting thus conveys a vivid sense of the passage of time as well as of the inevitability of technological progress. The groups of human figures, read from left to right, convey much the same idea. Indians precede Euro-American prospectors, who in turn come before the farmers and settlers. The idea of progress coming from the East to the West, and the notion that the frontier would be developed by sequential waves of people (here and in Turner’s configuration, always men) was deeply rooted in American thought.” -- Martha A. Sandweiss, Amherst College http://picturinghistory.gc.cuny.edu/item.php?item_id=180
The “progress” of public relations is a good example of “whig” history -- Each of these approaches to public relations is theoretically better than the previous one, and each major example is found chronologically after the previous one, so its possible to imply a chain of causality where none may actually exist. Are there people still practicing ballyhoo today? (Yes) Do we still have press agents? (Yes) Was there “scientific” public relations (using opinion polls and psychological strategies) earlier than the 1930s? (There’s an argument that the women’s suffrage movement used advanced public relations tactics). So are we looking at a range of approaches used in many rather than an historical progression ?
In recent years, many historians have moved away from semi-objective and progressive national histories, focusing instead on cultural history or other topics Cultural history might involve the history of ideas, history of technology, women’s history, black history, environmental history and many others not yet explored.
1. Brief lectures
Overview of history
(1 of 15)
2. This lecture is about history …
 Historical methods
 Importance of history
 Big questions and great historians
 Some of the branches of history
3. What is history?
of what happened
and what we can
learn from the past
From the Greek,
ἱστορία - historia,
4. What is history?
Collective memory of humankind
 The record of events and also to the
academic discipline of studying or helping
create the record of events.
 One of the Humanities
◦ (study of human culture – literature,
philosophy, theater, communication… )
 Allows broad questions – when and who,
but also why and how …
5. History is NOT …
 A permanent
repository of facts
 Useless memorization of dates
 Only concerned with “great men”
and “great machines”
 Only concerned with Europe and
6. Clio: Muse of history
First among the nine
muses of Greek
Often represented with
a parchment scroll or a
set of tablets.
The name is from the
root κλέω, "recount" or
7. Visualizing history
History, by Frederick Dielman, 1896
from the US Library of Congress, Washington DC
8. Assignment 1:
Pick Oneof 40 most famous historians (listed
at course web site). Find three references for the
historian (one from wikipedia) and write
complete, accurate bibliographic entries in APA
style. Read the Wikipedia article and other
references. Compare them in your report back to
class. One page note due in one week, ec for early
turn-in. ID the person, nationality, life
dates, significance, background, major
ideas, major publications, awards, and criticism or
9. Historical method 1
& critical method
◦ Not experimental like sciences
◦ Research in archives, interviews with
subjects, query data
◦ Critical approach to when, where, by
whom, who else, what medium,
◦ Concern with source integrity &
10. Historical method 2
to truth and accuracy
◦ Preference for eyewitness
accounts, original documents,
◦ Journalism is “first rough draft” of
history; but history is more than the
second draft of journalism
 Precise answers are elusive
 Looking for insights & explanations
 Producing narrative & analysis
11. Motives of great historians:
Heroditus and Thucydides
preserve the memory of
learn the lessons of the
past as a guide to the
12. Great historians:
David Hume (1711-1776)
History of Britain from the invasion of
Julius Caesar to the Revolution of 1688.
(written 1754–62) Definitive interpretation
of British history glorified the monarchy but
in a sometimes ironic and witty manner.
Edward Gibbon (1737 -1794)
History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire (written 1776 – 1788). One of the
most famous early modern works of history,
used primary sources and worked for
accuracy. Main motive was to understand
the fall of an empire so that the fall of the
British empire could be averted.
13. Why is history important?
◦ George Santayana
◦ “Those who cannot
remember the past
are condemned to
14. Why is history important?
◦ H.G. Wells
◦ “History is a race
15. Why is history important?
Hand powered water pumps won‟t
start unless there is a little water
poured in on top. That is to “prime”
In order to understand who we are
and where we are going, we need
to understand our past.
We need to prime the pump of
change with an understanding of
Children pump water in Wilder, Tennessee, 1942.
Note extra buckets left on the platform for
priming the pump. (TVA photo)
16. Is history objective?
Allan Nevins (1890
American journalist, worked with Walter
Lippmann at Pulitzer‟s World newspaper
“History is never above
the melee. It is not
allowed to be
neutral, but forced to
enlist in every army…”
17. Is history objective?
Leopold Von Ranke
Historians should take a
approach and report
“the way things really
18. Is history objective?
Arnold J. Toynbee
(Br. econ. Historian 1889 – 1975)
A Study of History
Patterns of 26 civilizations
are similar, predictable
Creative elites lead change
Broad-gauge history was a
major influence on media
historian Harold Innis
19. Is history objective?
(Italian - 1866–1952)
History should be "philosophy in
Reacting to Von Ranke and
Toynbee, Croce said there is no
great "cosmic design" or ultimate
plan in history.
The "science of history" is a farce,
20. Is history objective?
Eugin Weber (1925 – 2007)
Romanian-American historian /
“History is the dressing
room of politics…”
"The world has always been
disgracefully managed, but now
(1989) you no longer know to whom to
21. Is history objective?
Lord John Acton
(1834 – 1902)
◦ Highly influenced by
◦ Historians must
22. Is history objective?
Barbara Tuchman (1912–1989) American
Guns of August, Proud Tower, First
Salute, Stilwell and the American
Experience in China,
"Disaster is rarely as
pervasive as it seems from
recorded accounts. The fact of
the record makes it appear continuous and
ubiquitous whereas it is more likely to have been
sporadic both in time and place. … The fact of being
reported multiplies the apparent extent of any
23. Is history objective?
The Hubble phenomenon
In 1994, when the Hubble
space telescope was finally
pointed it at what appeared to
be an empty patch of the
universe. They were
surprised to find many billions
of galaxies in those “empty”
New online technologies that enable full text newspaper and photo
archives have also made it easy for historians to examine areas of
cultural history that once seemed empty and to find surprisingly high
levels of information.
24. Is history objective?
“History is furious debate informed by
evidence and reason, not just answers
to be learned. Textbooks encourage
students to believe that history is just
learning facts… No wonder (it) turns
Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything
Your American History Textbook Got
Wrong -- James W. Loewen
25. Historical myths
Stab-in-the-back myth Dolchstoßlegende right-wing circles in
Germany after 1918, that the German Army did not lose World War I
but was instead betrayed by the civilians on the home front.
◦ Myth bred resentment that led to WWII ; post-Vietnam era has version of this
Whale oil myth -- Petroleum did not emerge in the free market just
in time to save the whales. In fact, petroleum was marketed after
competing fuels were heavily taxed in the US.
◦ Reason for preferring market policy to government energy policy.
Benito Mussolini did not "make the trains run on time.”
◦ Excuse for harsh treatment of political opponents
Widespread panic after Orson Welles 1938 radio adaptation of
H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds? Probably not.
◦ But newspapers helped make seem as if it were true.
Two thirds of total world oil reserves are not located in Saudi
Arabia and the Middle East.
◦ Myth excused intervention in Gulf Wars 1990s – 2000s
26. Time – related historical terms
Chronological – In order of occurrence
 Anachronic -- against flow of time
◦ (Ex: Mad Men Anachronisms)
Synchronic – at same time
◦ (Ex: synchronize clocks)
Diachronic – through time
◦ (Ex: diachronic linguistics is the study of
language change over time)
27. Issues in history
Historicism – Cant understand without context
◦ As opposed to reductionism & determinism
Determinism – “weak” & “strong” versions
◦ Usually there are many factors are at work
◦ things were better / worse in the past
◦ projecting present knowledge on the past
◦ not recognizing fog of history
◦ Re-consideration of orthodox views (sometimes negative, but not
Presentism / Whig history (next slides)
28. „Whig‟ history
(British 1800 – 1859)
History of England A political Whig
(reformer), Macaulay put
liberalism, reform and public service
at the center of British history. The
“Progressive History” approach was
widely adopted in UK and US
The Whig Interpretation of History
(1931) pointed to Macaulay as an
example of Whig history. Butterfield
was skeptical of “presentism,” that
is, seeing the past through the lens of
Macaulay hoped to
present the British
“… A true picture of
the life of their
29. What‟s a Whig?
A political party in Britain (1670s – 1860s) that favored Parliament
over the monarchy, free trade, religious tolerance, abolition of slavery
and expansion of voting rights. Whigs became the labor party in the
1860s. (Opposition was the Tories, favor monarchy, tradition).
Whig history is about history that favors the idea of progress.
30. Whig History in the USA
American progress, John Gast, 1872
31. Whig History example
Progress in public relations history:
P.T. Barnum & ballyhoo PR
◦ Mid-19th century
Ivy Lee & press agency PR
◦ Early 20th century
Edward Bernais& scientific public info
◦ Mid-20th century
James Grunig& 2-way symmetrical flow
◦ Late 20th century
32. People‟s history
(1922 – 2010)
of the United States
“History is invoked because
nobody can say what history
really has ordained for you,
just as nobody can say what
God has ordained for you…”
33. Black history
People who have
been ignored until
Struggle for equality
reflects America at its
best and worst
(Mandella, Tum, Aun
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lincoln
Memorial, Aug. 28, 1963.
34. Women‟s history
that had been
Struggle for equality
reflects the world at
its best and worst
Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of British
movement for women‟s suffrage, 1913.
35. Environmental history
“Wise use” – TR
“Preservation” – JM
Goes back through
Not “new” but
new as an historical
US President Teddy Roosevelt
& Sierra Club founder John Muir
at Yosemite National Park, May, 1903
36. End of history ?
(1952–present) / also
 End of the idea of
 Abandonment of
utopian visions from
right- and left-wing
37. Review: Questions
Who is Clio?
 Who says history is important?
 Who says history is objective?
 Who says history is NOT objective?
 What are some historical myths?
 What are some historical problems?
 What is „Whig history‟ ?
 What are some new cultural histories?
 Why is history “ending”?
38. Review: People
Leopold Von Ranke
Lord John Acton