One of the most significant developments in academics in the last several decades is the rise of Post-Modernism. For the uninitiated, post-modernism questions the truth of everything – from social tradition to personal ritual, a post-modernist would argue that every aspect of human existence is constructed by human themselves. If everything is a construct, nothing is “true,” or we might say nothing is “real.” Post-modern historians have likewise questioned the value of history, since every fact or idea a historian has about the past represents their bias and the choices they make about how and what history they are presenting. But if it is so constructed, is history valuable? Today we examine our struggle with that question.Read More
This week Clio’s Current embarks on the first of a four-part series looking at history as a discipline, how the craft has evolved over the past several decades, why history is an important tool today, as well as what separates historians from journalists and other professionals.Read More
Conversation is an unavoidably personal way to educate others about history. That connection leads to serious questions about how we relay the facts about the past. Outside of the lengthy space of articles and books, we are forced to condense our thoughts and sometimes deal with complicated issues in simple ways. The most problematic are the historical events that reflect on the terrible nature of humankind – the wars, atrocities, the cruelty of one human being towards another. How do we discuss these issues in conversation? Or, how do we as historians deal with morality, let alone convey it to others? Is it our place to judge the past?
Daniel Johnson has lamented in a recent article appearing in Standpoint Magazine that the study of history has reached an all-time low. We agree that the ways in which politicians and the public at large value history is problematic, but we would argue that the fragmentation of history—from the grand narratives of Leopold von Ranke and Auguste Comte to the nuanced approaches to historical subjects—affords great insight into our place in the world and those who came before us.Read More