History Consciousness and Mapping the Discipline Reading

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History Consciousness

Chapter three “Historical Consciousness in the Modern Age” in History and Historians by Mark T. Gilderhus shows how historical consciousness in the modern age has evolved between 14th and the 19th centuries. Gilderhus shows this evolvement went from relying on supernatural explanations for events to the approach of studying the past. He explains that historians in the 18th century focused on authentication of historical sources. For example, Gilderhus talks about David Hume who was an enlightenment historian that focused on his own values in regards to human advancement rather than focusing on the context of the past. He praises how present day historians focus on analyzing the context of historical sources. By analyzing context historians receive a deeper and complex understanding of the past. Furthermore, Gilderhus’s point is that analyzing context of historical sources and events is more beneficial for historians because they can see how the past has shaped present day society.

 

Mapping the Discipline

Chapter two “Mapping the Discipline of History” in History in Practice by Ludmila Jordanova shows the three significant points that define the uses of disciplines of history. The first point is that history has a lot of content that is very complex. She shows that these complexities of history include places, people, different forms, and times of history. The second point is that history is so large that it can be studied and divided into many different ways. The last significant point is that historians must be aware how hard it is to simplify content by dividing it. Jordanova isn’t trying to tell historians not to make understanding history my manageable but to realize how complex it is. It is so complex to divide the content of history because so many historical elements overlap in terms of content. She suggests that historians could divide history into categories such as theories, approaches, and methods because of how general they are. Jordanova approaches another way to divide content of history by the three elements that are political, social, and economic. However she makes it clear that these are suggestions to how historians could divide history into groups. Her point is that historians must see how complex history is in order to understand the disciplines of history.

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