HST287: Class notes, 16-Sept.-2004
Just a few random thoughts, remembered quotes, and reactions:
Colin recapped Collingwood's Epilegomena.
Comment: "Since we are reading him today he must have done something
I wonder: Would Collingwood agree? Would he say 21st century people
recognize the truth in his work or have we found his works suits our
current notions abd so we adopt them? Has this work been
compiled/republished because it is "good historiography" or have those
bits of his writing that better match our own presuppositions about
historiography become the ones that are published while other writings
of his that do not match so well are not.
Human nature, the inside/outside concept. Someone remarks that
Collingwood is hung up in natural sciences.
Yes. This is the milieu he is working in so he reacts to it. "Every new
generation must re-write history (and historiography?) in its own image.
On the board: clarifying materialism and idealism
- naturalism/materialism: I am who I am because of where I was raised,
shaped by my environment (nurture)
- idealism: there is an ideal called "Man" (Platonic) and I am who I am
because I have traits in common with that ideal (sounds like
transcendentalists and language)
Or a third way, for historians: you are going to be biased but you can
at least try to overcome that bias by being aware of it. (Bogac: A
materialist will say "you can't overcome this, you can only be aware of
David? Why do we wish to claim that history repeats itself?
(It would be interesting to see when this trope was accepted as true.
Does history really repeat itself or do some eras/cultures just
sometimes believe that it does? If it's not seen as true by all
times/all people, what times/people do see it as true and why?)
What is the difference between history and fiction?
I took this crack at it in the questions section:
2) The question came up last time: What distinguishes history from
fiction (myth?), that is, how do we know which is which? Burke
addresses the fluidity of the border between the two, as well as
suggesting that "we should be discussing. . .the compatibility or
conflict between [the criteria used to define history and fiction] and
different forms of text or rhetoric" (p. 129). I'd like to
enlarge the latter to include that there are differences in authorial
intent and authorial
The writer of fiction, while he or she may provide elements
of verisimilitude, provides the story alone, usually adhering to an
accepted form or forms of narrative recognizable as one of the standard
fictional genres. The
historian also writes according to recognised formulas, and provides
footnotes. Footnotes are the historians bargain with the reader, asking
for the reader's trust and supplying reasons for that trust. Of course
(!) the author can also betray the reader's trust by subverting these
tools. (ex. Sokal/Social
Text, as well as the classic "Felines
Bearded Men" study)
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