What is the purpose of History?

He Goal of the story Is the study of the past as described in written documents. The events that occur before the written record are considered prehistory and the scholars who write about the history are called historians.

To understand how historians"choose"their subject of research or object of study is to understand their goal and the relevance of the subject for the author.

Goal of the story

Herodotus , The father of history, introduces his work History As follows:"Herodotus of Halicarnassus presents here the results of his investigation so that time does not abate the memory of human actions and that the large companies involved...".

In other words, their goal was to keep large companies for the knowledge of future generations.

In medieval times the providential paradigm prevailed and history, like other sciences, was to serve theology. History gathered the facts from the creation of the world until the apocalypse, but these facts had to have a religious relevance. All the facts were explained as a plan of God. History continued to ignore the common people and focused on the activities of the papacy and the reigns.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the object of study of history was wars, the reigns of different kings and their dynasties and only in the nineteenth century, thanks to Marxism and positivism history paid more attention to the economic development of peoples.

The Capital from Marx Brought as a consequence that many works on the economic development of peoples were published. At present this discipline is called economic history.

The everyday life or life of ordinary people was not the object of research for historians. Only in the 20th century did new"objects of study"emerge.

The School of the Annales , Founded by Lucien Febvre and Marc Bloch, proposed new objects of study and a new methodology to study them. This new school advocated the extension of the object of study of History.

The historians of the school did not emphasize politics, diplomacy, and war, but studied economic, cultural, linguistic aspects and the mentality of human beings in the past.

For example, in the book The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean world in the time of Philip II , Fernand Braudel Did not pay much attention to the wars or politics of this ruler, rather his book deals with society in general and the influence of the Mediterranean Sea on the development of European and Arab peoples (as its counterpart).

Also, the linguistic turn played an important role in extending the object of study of history. Historians like Michel Foucault Showed in their works The words and the things Y The archeology of knowledge As the discourse changes throughout history. The study of the discourse of the times arose as a new discipline.

Thanks to the School of the Annales two disciplines were developed with an object of opposite study: the total or global history and the local history. The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean world Is also an example of a total focus on history.

What is the goal of historians?

The goal of the historian is to study all the phenomena of society, even those that may be of no relevance to the reader at first sight. On the other hand, an example of local history would be the history of cities.

Another of the branches of historical knowledge is rural history. Marc Bloch in his work The original characters of the French rural history Explores the social and economic aspects of life in rural areas.

In the seventies, Jacques Le Goff Y Pierre Nora Declared the emergence of"The New History,"which focused on studying aspects of the past related to mentality using methods of anthropology.

The works of Le Goff, The Order of Memory: Time as Imaginary , Time, work and culture in the medieval West , The medieval man And others explore aspects of history that had been ignored in the past.

For example, time and how man assimilated or perceived in the past, culture and legends and how they developed, the mentality of medieval man and how one could describe a common man in medieval times.

Le Goff is considered one of the most important historians of the Middle Ages today. It is important to emphasize that his methodology of study of this type of phenomena related to the human mind and the capacity of perception are universal and can be used to study other epochs.

For his part, Pierre Nora and his work Places of Memory Studies the collective memory of a nation and the places (monuments, cities or phenomena) that are linked to collective memory.

Thanks to the development of imagery, historians now study the history of the perception that human beings have of each other.

There are other disciplines of study, such as the study of exceptions or rare cases. A good example of this is the book Cheese and worms: the cosmos of a miller of the 16th century Of the historian Carlo Ginzburg . In this book, Ginzburg relates the life of a man unusual for his time. This discipline that studies facts and unusual characters are called microhistory.

Many historians have extended the object of study of history in its work. His research has shown that issues pertaining to an individual's culture or personal life can be very important to society. On the other hand, philosophers have tried to give a more precise definition of what the object of history is.

The philosopher R. G. Collingwood In his book The idea of ​​history Says that history finds out"the res gestae, that is to say, acts of human beings that have been realized in the past". Collingwood goes further in considering that any story is tied to the development of thought and ideas.

In your opinion, to know ourselves is essential to study all aspects of the past. Any fact or phenomenon that seems irrelevant shows us what a man has done or can do, that is, he shows us that he is the man.

To conclude, we reiterate that everything relative to man is object of study of history from environmental aspects to fashion or technology. The most interesting investigations of recent times are related to unusual aspects like the kitchen or some trade or artifact.

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