User:LGreg/sandbox/Approaches to Knowledge (LG seminar 2020/21)/Seminar 18/History/History of History

Etymology edit

The term history has its roots in the Greek word ἱστορία, historia, which means 'inquiry or knowledge acquired by investigation.’ [1] Therefore, history is also the study of the past.

Origin edit

From its very beginning, history was intimately tied to literature (understood as poetry, rhetoric, or belles letters), before separating off to emerge as a science in the nineteenth century. [2] This is due to its narrative nature and that writing history is a literary act. [3] However, the nature of history itself causes a lot of debates between historians.

Role edit

History plays a vital role in the society and as outlined by Professor Arthur Marwick, history has three main roles,

  1. History as ‘the past’ – everything that happened
  2. History as ‘the attempt made by man throughout the centuries to describe, reconstruct, interpret the past.’
  3. History as ‘the attempt to do this in a scholarly fashion, sticking to certain definite rules of establishing fact, interpreting evidence, delating with source material, etc. [4]

Methodology edit

Historians study history through narratives. These narratives describe past events, examine the rationale behind what has happened and allows room for analysis about a sequence of past events, its causes and effects. [5] These narratives can be attained through historical sources, including oral accounts, historical objects and written documents. [6] These narratives can be attained through historical sources, including oral accounts, historical objects and written documents. [7] The historical sources, however, must undergo a process of evaluation known as sources criticism. This process is mainly divided into six inquiries: [8]

  1. When was the source written, produced? (date)
  2. Where was it produced? (localisation)
  3. By whom was it produced? (authorship)
  4. From what pre-existing material was it produced? (analysis)
  5. In what original from was it produced? (integrity)
  6. What is the evidential value of its contents? (credibility)

Discipline edit

In the mid nineteenth century, history branched off in becoming a discipline of its own. This started in Germany, where the historians were impressed by the natural sciences, and asserted that their craft too had become a science. [9] There are several indicators that demonstrate history has become a separate discipline. Firstly, the creation of the first historical journal in 1859, Historiche Zeitschrift. [10] This marks the beginning of interaction within history as a network of people, such as editors contribute to the spread of historical knowledge. Secondly, in the same year, history was recognised as an academic study in Germany. [11] This suggests a further expansion of the network of people as there is now interaction between university students and scholars, creating a student-teacher relationship.

References edit

  1. Joseph, Brian; Janda, Richard, eds. (2008) [2004]. The Handbook of Historical Linguistics. Blackwell Publishing. p. 163. ISBN 978-1-4051-2747-9.
  2. “Historians, Orators, and Writers.” History Is a Contemporary Literature: Manifesto for the Social Sciences, by Ivan Jablonka and Nathan J. Bracher, Cornell University Press, Ithaca; London, 2018, pp. 15. JSTOR, Accessed 17 Oct. 2020.
  3. “History and Literature.” Clio among the Muses: Essays on History and the Humanities, by Peter Charles Hoffer, NYU Press, New York; London, 2014, pp. 72–87. JSTOR, Accessed 17 Oct. 2020.
  4. Scott, Brian. “What Is History?” Teaching History, no. 20, 1978, pp. 5–7. JSTOR, Accessed 18 Oct. 2020.
  5. Professor Alun Munslow (2001). "What History Is". History in Focus, Issue 2: What is History?. University of London.
  6. ibid.
  7. Arnold J. A very short introoduction. [Place of publication not identified]: Oxford University Press; 2000.
  8. Shafer R, Bennett D. A guide to historical method. Homewood, Ill.: Dorsey Press; 1980.
  9. Stern F. The varieties of history. Harmondsworth, Eng.: Penguin; 1970.
  10. Stieg, Margaret F. (1986). "The Historische Zeitschrift". The Origin and Development of Scholarly Historical Periodicals. Tuscaloosa: University Alabama Press. pp. 20–38. ISBN 0-8173-0273-5.
  11. ibid.