Military Histories Old and New (Reading Blog #5)

Military Histories Old and New is an essay written by Robert Citino, where he writes about the impact that the media and other factors have had on the history of the military.

Citino begins his essay by talking about how popular military history has become in the past few decades and how movies and TV channels have influenced people. This is true, for me at least, because as I was growing up, I would learn about different wars through the History Channel or by watching movies like Gettysburg, Gods and Generals, All Quiet on the Western Front, etc.

Personally, I see the newer TV shows and movies as a form of propaganda, only showing the American side to a situation. This is one of the problems that historians have with the movie industry.

Historical Consciousness (Reading Blog #4)

“Historical Consciousness in the Modern Age”, chapter 3 of History and Historians by Mark Gilderhus, covers the idea of historical consciousness and its impact on history over the course of 500 years.

In the first paragraph, Gilderhus states that in the modern age, historians, as well as other scholars in the different fields, abandoned attempts to determine God’s role in the historical and natural worlds.

Mapping the Discipline of History (Reading Blog #3)

“Mapping the Discipline of History”, chapter 2 of History in Practice by Ludmilla Jordanova, discusses how to better comprehend history and its disciplines. Most people and historians think that defining history as a body of knowledge appears attractive and straightforward. Jordanova, however, states that there are two problems with that belief: first, it assumes that history is a finite field with relatively clear boundaries (trust me, it is not that simple), and second, it fails to take account of the differences between accounts of the past that historians give.

Jordanova then talks about the effect that theories have on history. In this paragraph, he states that “theories of history” refers to claims both about what has determined temporal change and about the basis for the entire discipline.  As a student, I am taught to not take theories as facts, but I understand the point that Jordanova is trying to make.

In the major section of the chapter,  Jordanova states that there are three kinds of history: political, social, and economic. In the political history part, she mentions that there could be a political history of just about anything. The power relations, the connotations of political history,  the legacies of leaders and rulers, etc. Essentially, political history allows us to look at history from above. In the social history part,  she states that social history, along with political history,  are the easiest to study and do research about, because social history can relate to a nation, tribe, city-state, or even an entire ethnic group. She also states that “society” implies the existence of repeated patterns and motifs,  which is true.

In conclusion,  I think that most of Jordanova’s thoughts and statements in this chapter are indeed correct. Learning about history and its disciplines can be difficult to do,  but if did correctly,  it could be beneficial in the long run.

Uses of History (Reading Blog #2)

“The Uses of History”, a chapter in The Pursuit of History, also written by John Tosh, tries to answer a simple question: what can we learn from history? For me, I believe that we can learn everything from history if we look hard enough.  In the first few paragraphs,  he states that history tells us what we need to know for the future, and that “our destiny is disclosed in the grand trajectory of human history”. He then warns of one possible extreme of this belief, the view that nothing can be learned from history.  in conclusion, I stand by Tosh’s beliefs when it comes to the usage of history.

Historical Awareness (Reading Blog #1)

As I was reading this, there was one theme that was constant throughout the reading; historical awareness is not the same as social memory.  By this, I mean that being aware of an event that has happened in the past is different than recalling an event that has occurred. Tosh also stated that these “memories” that the people in the country share are often historically inaccurate. At the end of the chapter, he states that historical awareness is more important to the growth of human society than social memory, stating that the study and preservation of history must be unbiased.