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How is History Explained. Change. Historical Change. Most people think of history as just collecting facts and putting them in chronological order. NO!!!!!! History is really similar to science in its true purpose. Why do things happen?

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historical change
Historical Change
  • Most people think of history as just collecting facts and putting them in chronological order.
  • NO!!!!!!
  • History is really similar to science in its true purpose.
    • Why do things happen?
    • In your science class, you conduct experiments to find out what happens.
    • In historical inquiry this has already happened
      • You know what happened, but the gaps are in the methods / steps to create the results.
so what
So What!!!
  • This point is the most contentious.
    • Historians can agree that Rome was defeated and sacked in 410 CE.
    • Where they differ is explaining how this happened.
      • Scientifically= what were the variables that led to this conclusion.
        • Historians identify different ones and accuse their rivals of false analysis on their variables.
but what causes historical change
But what causes historical change?
  • The following have accepted at one time or another as leading views for historical change.
    • Some fell out of favour
      • Others were adapted or modified
who can change it
Who can change it?
  • Historians have viewed history as subject to the following variables:
    • Great Man Theory
      • History is shaped by the individual
        • Alex the Great, Caesar, Napoleon
    • Other see history shaped by Remote or Immediate Causes
      • Immediate = Rome is captured by Visigoths in 410 CE
      • Remote = Rome’s over-reliance on foreigners in its army
    • Others see it as a question of “what if”
      • Missed opportunities
        • History is a series of accidents and mis-steps
          • What if Hitler had been able to attack the Soviet Union in early 1941 as he originally wanted
          • Alternate or Allohistory feeds on this premise.
finding patterns
Finding Patterns
  • Look at the following chart and identify the pattern
it s human nature
It’s Human Nature
  • As humans we always seek patterns
    • It helps us to order our world
    • It helps us make sense of it
slide8
Basically the historian comes to see an event as part of an organic whole that includes specific people, special conditions, and certain antecedent events.
  • The pattern that makes an event understandable is not one that, so to speak, "jumps out" of an assembled factual data.
  • It comes from an idea that rises into the historian's consciousness as he surveys the available facts.
slide9
A perceived pattern may be sophisticated or it may be simple; it may generate an interpretation covering an entire period, or it may only put a minor legislative committee's action in an appropriate context.
  • The scope of the synthesis very much depends on the sophistication of the historian. What is really important to note is that any given event may be patterned in a variety of ways.
slide10
Starting from different points, historians inevitably must travel different roads to the same destination.
  • Thus, interpretations vary, and each interpretation may have validity, just as different roads to a city may each have something to be said in its favor.
the formulas
The Formulas
  • Whatever you want to believe as the cause of change
    • There is a formula link the variables
      • Cyclical
      • Pendulum
      • Dialectic
      • Discourse
cyclical
Cyclical
  • History moves through a set pattern
    • Ie. Life stage = empires
      • Development of empire = youth
      • Golden Age = Maturity
      • Decline = Old Age
    • Was an early view – Renaissance
    • A + B = C
pendulum
Pendulum
  • This view tends to see things in constant conflict
    • Push and pull
    • A movement / event creates a counter reaction and pushes
      • This creates another counter push
        • And so on it goes….
    • A + B = C + A = B + C = A + B = C
dialectic
Dialectic
  • Is a version of the pendulum theory
    • Developed by a German Philosopher (Hegel)
      • He argues that the “thesis” creates a “antithesis”
        • When they conflict, the fuse to create a new thesis.
          • And on it goes….
    • A + B = C + D = F + G = H
progress
Progress
  • The idea existed until the Second World war that history can be viewed as the development of a better society
    • Ancient World – Middle Ages – Renaissance – Industrial Revolution – Scientific Knowledge
    • The life of humanity was getting better
      • Life expectancy, public health, standards of living, consumerism, political rights
    • If rejected with the rise of Fascism and the Depression
post modernism
Post Modernism
  • Developed after World War Two
    • Rejects the idea of a pattern
      • French theorist Foucault looked at “discourse”
        • Promoted the idea of false leads and that there is not true limit to the variables
          • Each must be examined and refuted or validated
    • AHSBND + WP = MVC (or only F)
    • People criticise it as unwieldy and not practical
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