In your initial post, introduce yourself. Include:
- Your name and what you prefer to be called
â€¢ Where you are from
â€¢ Your goals for taking this course
Then discuss why you think studying history is valuable. How can knowledge of our past improve your communities?
Video: What Is History For? (4:13)
View this video, which describes the significance of history. Consider the following point made at the end of the video: â€œGood history should always mean history with solutions or consolations for today.â€ Do you agree or disagree?
The video “What is History For?” argues that history matters because it provides solutions to the problems of the present. Recall the statement “Those who don’t know history won’t be able to improve the present.” Consider a recent event, either in your personal life or in the news. In a few sentences, describe a way that a past historical event could inform your understanding of the recent event. Briefly describe a strategy for how you could be conscious of presentism (the use of modern values to interpret past events) in the study of those past events.
Two major historians, Howard Zinn and Larry Schweikart, have written popular books on American history containing very different historical interpretations of the same events. Explore this interactive resource on Zinn and Schweikart to learn about their different personal assumptions, beliefs, and values that might influence how each historian interprets historical events and might introduce bias into their writing.
A text only version is available: A Tale of Two Historians Text Only Transcript Word Document
After reviewing Zinn’s and Schweikart’s personal assumptions, beliefs, and values as well as excerpts from their historical writing, respond to the following questions:
What do you believe to be the major distinctions in their personal assumptions, beliefs, and values?
What do you believe to be the major distinctions in their interpretations of history?
Do you notice any biases? If so, what are they?