historical thinking intro

clashjudiciousElectronics - Devices

Nov 8, 2013 (3 years and 9 months ago)

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Learning Historical
Thinking

Background

“To think historically is essentially to be
a critical thinker when it comes to the
study of history.”






Peter Seixas,






University of British Columbia


6 Concepts of Historical Thinking


Significance


Evidence


Continuity & Change


Cause & Consequence


Historical Perspective
-
taking


The Moral Dimension (Judgment)

Significance


How do we make judgments about what
events in history are important? What
criteria is used to judge
significance
?



This is the work of historians and they
must employ historical thinking to
determine
significance
.

Aspects of Significance


Prominence of the
event

at the time


Consequences (resulting in change)


Deep consequence
for many people over a
long period of time


Revealing


Does the event explain something about
later
events
or the present?


Occupies a key place in a
meaningful
narrative

Aspects of Evidence

Problem:
The past is gone


How do we know about the past?


Primary & secondary documents

(
traces & accounts
)


How do we decide what to believe about the
past?
Learning to critically analyze accounts from the past is an
important skill to develop. Ask yourself


is this credible? Does this
person’s account match up with other individuals’ accounts? Is this
secondary source based in part on primary sources?



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Continuity and Change


Change and continuity are on
-
going and
ever present


Change can occur at different rates


Change and continuity can be both
positive and negative
(e.g. progress & decline)


Comparisons can be made between points
of history and between the past and the
present



The IBM 7094, a typical mainframe computer [photo courtesy of IBM]


What is this?

Continuity or change?

Cause & Consequence


Events have a myriad of different and
often unappreciated causes


Prior events may have no casual influence
on subsequent events


Looking for
broad underlying factors

is
more important (often) than identifying
immediate specific causes of an event


Actions have
unintended consequences


Part II

Columbine

Marilyn Manson

Historical Perspective


Presentism is the opposite of historical
perspective.

Presentism is when you examine the past
through
today’s

understandings (values,
norms, technological understanding)


The goal,
when thinking
historically
, is to
avoid

presentism
.


Moral Judgment


Moral Judgments are a particular kind of
evaluative (or value) judgment


Moral judgments about the past must be
sensitive to historical content/context


There is value in withholding moral
judgments
until

adequate information has
been acquired


Determining cause is different from
assigning responsibility


What about local history?

What does
this photo
tell us
about
schools in
NB around
1870?

What kinds
of
information
about
schools is
not
included in
the
drawing?

What
Questions
does the
drawing
raise?

What kinds
of sources
might
provide
more
information
about
schools in
NB at that
time?

Thinking historically …


Make inferences about life around town at
that time


Consider the societal, economic, &
technological environment


Compare with photos of the same place today


Identify a list of things that have changed and
stayed the same



http://www.histori.ca/
benchmarks
/