Some Historical Concepts to Analyze, Directions (do these steps in order,…
Some Historical Concepts to Analyze
Interpretation (Group 2)
Are descriptions and analysis based on someone's point of view, therefore they are subjective. From the same historic event multiple interpretations can be made. Give meaning, to make sense of something -- this is arguably the basic meaning of interpretation.
Exceptions: Official documents
The work of historian is based on interpretations and they will express their point of view and interpretation even though they are trying to avoid them.
Examples: "The Secrets of Lyndon Johnson's Archives" -- Caro's interpretation of evidence in the archives
Re Present (Present again)
Examples: 1) Depiction (representation) of black people in the media
2) The representation of Indigenous groups group in Congress.
3) Juan Rulfo represented how the cristeros lived during the war.
4) The Guernica represents how Picasso view the second world war
Definition (attempt): the way humanity can exteriorize and incarnate their perception of the [material -- sometimes] happenings
Llano en llamas - Juan Rulfo -- in the sense that it's an interpretation of the past, which is then represented in a book (the other examples here are similar)
México el trauma de su historia: O'Gorman
Viva Zapata, movie
Ana Franks: Diary of a young girl, painting (La liberté guidant le peulple, starry night), Mein Kampf.
An object by itself isn't necessarily a representation. Not every document or artifact is a representation, because it doesn't REpresent the world
What all the examples have in common, is that they are subjective and they try to tell how they saw their reality. Using these common atributes, we can define representation as: A way to comunicate their understanding of the world around them, although it doesn't always have this particular goal. Representations aren't always intended primarily to share or reveal a perspective.
An explanation of the causes of the Mexican Revolution .
An explanation of the US Civil War
I did not do my homework because my dog died.
My bread got burned because I wasn't paying attention.
My computer died because it wasn't connected.
I got an F because I didn't study.
Examples: Clarify past events to individuals in present
State the facts
Make a description about something with the goal of making someone else understand
It does not have as an objective to show the personal perspective or interpretation -- this isn't always true
Plants die if they are not watered
We will fail if we do not think of another example (is this an explanation?)
Babies are born when two human beings of opposing sexs have an intercourse
To explain things it is used: because, if, when, etc.
their goal is to find a cause to an event and/or clarify the reason for why something happens
I am tired because i slept at 2 am
An explanations contains a cause-effect relation that explains the causes of an event [not all explanations have to do with cause/effect relationships -- an example of another type might be an explanation of a particular perspective, or why something stays the same rather than changing].
All of the examples fall in this definition. (There might be some examples missing!)
By using resources, historians make explanations of historical events.
Interviews, letters, newspapers, photography (primary sources)
Textbooks, Thesis, Documentaries (secondary sources)
Common: Produced in the past, help us understand our past with information, produced by humans.
a) Primary sources: camera footage, fingerprints, books, letters, reports, newspaper, official documents, interviews, witness.
b) First-hand, from the time-period being studied, "pieces" of the past, help us understand/study/support that specific part of the past
c) Not that we know of/ can think of. There might be some kinds of evidence that don't really get used in history, like ruins, bones, etc. -- this paleontology
d) Evidence helps the historian support their work, as well as explain it, understand it and analyse it, as well as prove it.
information that tends to be tangible (? -- what about testimonies), which helps us understand the past (although it can also have an opposite effect!).
this information helps historians to prove his work, is used as the base for his/hers credibility.
evidence ABOUNDS in history -- historians have to be like detectives, who choose the evidence that really does explain the event
Group 1 (Interpretation)
The news in the US are divided by different points of view, and they have different interpretations of what is happening (Fox and CNN)
A spanish historian can have a different interpretation of the conquest of Mexico than a mexican historian. This happens, because there is a distinction between both points of view and cultures.
In the 18th century the slavery was seen as something ethically correct, but nowadays it is seen as something wrong and bad.
What do they have in common?:
Even though the information are acquired from the same sources, they have different interpretations.
There is more then one point of view which can affect the interpretation (horizonte histórico cultural).
All historical knowledge is based on interpretation, so there are no exceptions.
The interpretations is the building block of the work of a historian
Directions (do these steps in order, from top to bottom)
What are some examples of your concept? Try to brainstorm at least four specific examples.
What do those examples have in common? What is it that they share? Use those common characteristics to formulate a definition. We'll assume that the things they share in common define the concept.
Are there any examples that you think don't fit into this characterization? Is there anything that you think is missing from the definition you've made?
How do you think this concept applies to the work of a historian, based on what you already know about how history works?
What methods do historians use to gain knowledge?