Presentation on theme: "Intro to Ancient History Week 8: New Interpretations."— Presentation transcript:
Intro to Ancient History Week 8: New Interpretations
Changing Perspectives History is not fixed. The primary task of the historian is to generate new knowledge and understanding of the past. This includes you. Learning about the past is not an end in itself: it s the basis for developing new perspectives on the past. Information is not enough: you also need ideas.
Get to know the debate First and foremost, you need to know what historians are currently arguing about; no point in re-inventing the wheel. Sometimes synthesis can identify significant gaps. At any point in time, some things are taken for granted; debate focuses on the other issues. New arguments normally based not on new evidence but on new interpretations, above all by calling into question things previously taken for granted.
Where do new ideas come from? Revival of old, unjustly forgotten ideas: review the history of scholarship. New approaches, drawing on other disciplines; can even create completely new subjects, e.g. ecological history. New questions, inspired by changing events and new experiences. Your own personal perspective.
Some Approaches to Slavery Comparative studies (e.g. American South) Psychology of domination and submission Demography and family studies Economics of plantations and factories Identity politics and ethnicity Post-colonialism and the subaltern Archaeology and the villa system Theories of representation and discourse