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European history relies on european observers even

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made, historians may ignore sources contrary to those assumptions. European history relies on European observers, even when that history focuses on developing countries or colonial experiences. (Thus, history has been ethnocentric.) C. History May Be Rewritten Each Generation The historical record is an interpretation. In a very real sense, historians create history--it does not exist by itself. Historians decide what to study. They select some facts and ignore others. Many events are ambiguous and need to be interpreted. Interpretations are likely to reflect typical, strongly held views. As each generation, looks at the historical record (evidence) it may arrive at a different interpretation of what happened or what the happening means (the "so what"). III. History in the Social Sciences Until recently, history was placed in the humanities. UNESCO still refuses to consider history as part of the social sciences. It is only in the last few years that the notion of "scientific history" has become popular. The notion is that the actual event may be reconstructed by a systematic, objective inquiry that identifies, retrieves, evaluates, and interprets a wide variety of evidence. Considerable attention is given to the genuineness and credibility of the documents examined. 2
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ISS 225 Power, Authority, Exchange History A. Comparative For history to be scientific there must be comparison of similar events that may lead to generalizations. Given examination of enough revolutions, for example, the political historian could move on to examine and theorize about the model event or the event in the abstract with its attributes and associations. B. Predictability Predictability is central to a scientific discipline. Certainly, some historians believe that broad laws of historical development based on the pattern of many events can be identified and that these will allow reasonable prediction. For example, based on the study of past revolutions, the political historian will be able to predict future ones. Patterns develop that allow historians to predict events. C. Explanation Scientific history places more emphasis on why rather than who, what, where, and how. There is also more emphasis on institutional roles. D. Interdisciplinary As history has become more inclusive, borrowing from the other social science disciplines has increased. Economic history borrows heavily from economics. Cultural histories borrow from sociology and anthropology as well as from the humanities. Political history borrows from political science and so on. E. Evidence/Data/Quantification Without written evidence, there is no history. Since historians work with the evidence that survived, the record is likely to be incomplete or biased. What about the evidence that did not survive? How complete is the story that we do know? Those who witness and record events are not likely to be wholly disinterested.
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