How to investigate history. Jun 10, 2023 16:12:34 GMT
Post by Nessie on Jun 10, 2023 16:12:34 GMT
How should history be investigated? The simple and only answer, is by gathering evidence.
That evidence comes in various forms;
"....some kind of documentary evidence. Such evidence customarily takes the form of something written, such as a letter, a law, an administrative record, or the account of some previous historian."
Then there are witnesses;
"In addition, historians sometimes create their own evidence by interviewing people."
Then there is imagery, physical and forensic evidence;
"In the 20th century the scope of historical evidence was greatly expanded to include, among many other things, aerial photographs, the rings of trees, old coins, clothes, motion pictures, and houses. Modern historians have determined the age of the Shroud of Turin, which purportedly bears the image of Jesus, through carbon-14 dating and have discredited the claim of Anna Anderson to be the grand duchess Anastasia, the daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, through DNA testing"
Principles that goes back to early historical thinking, are still used today;
"Liu Zhiji’s view had a lasting influence. Indeed, some of his maxims are still recommended to beginning historians: skepticism about the sources, freedom from deference to established scholars, the necessity of extensive knowledge of the sources before selection can be made, and insistence on arguments supported by extensive evidence"
That evidence has to be assessed chronologically, logically and veracity.
"Chronological thinking is at the heart of historical reasoning. Students should be able to distinguish between past, present, and future time."
"...history ... involves following and evaluating arguments and arriving at usable conclusions based on what evidence you have."
"In evaluating the "primary" sources, you should think about who produced the account? when? how? and why? You should think about what is the evidence of its authenticity, authority, and credibility?"
To give an example of how historians work, take one camp, Birkenau and what happened there in 1943-5. Historians have gathered evidence from witnesses who worked in the camp at that time, documents pertaining to the camp at that time, photographs (of people inside the camp and aerial), the physical camp site itself and what Nazi camp policy was at that time. That evidence is then examined chronologically, logically and for its veracity, to determine what happened.
All claims made about the camp, need to be accompanied by evidence and when multiple, independent forms of evidence all point to same conclusion, we now have proof of what happened.