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Unformatted text preview: WHAT IS HISTORY? (AND RELATED QUESTIONS) I. What is history? A. What happened in the past B. Making sense of the past II. Why study history? A. B. C. D. Understand where we came from Understand how we got to where we are now Learn lessons from the past Learn about human nature, ourselves III. Are there patterns in history? A. Circular and linear theories IV. Determining causation in history A. Distinguishing among circumstances, preconditions, and causes B. Fields of history established priority assigned to causes: biographical, political, cultural, socio-economic, religious, technological V. Is the writing of history more of an art or science? A. B. C. D. Historical facts Original (primary) sources The historian Problems with language. Words change meaning: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Through translation Over time Over distance In different contexts Nuances of meaning in one language, in one time frame, in one place, in one context E. Can't experiment with the past VI. Between art and science VII. The historian must distinguish between biases and values A. Room for moral judgements VIII. Becoming a participant in history ...
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- Spring '08