- Jul 27, 2015
...When I received my Ph.D. in history in 2013, I didn’t expect that within a decade fights over history — and historiography, even if few people use that word — would become front-page news. But over the last few years that is precisely what has happened: Just look at the recent debates over America’s legacy of slavery, what can be taught in public schools about the nation’s founders and even the definition of what constitutes fascism. The interpretation of the American past has not in recent memory been as public or as contentious as it is now.
It’s the end of history. And the consequences will be significant.
Entire areas of our shared history will never be known because no one will receive a living wage to uncover and study them. It’s implausible to expect scholars with insecure jobs to offer bold and innovative claims about history when they can easily be fired for doing so. Instead, history will be studied increasingly by the wealthy, which is to say those able to work without pay. It’s easy to see how this could lead American historical scholarship to adopt a pro-status-quo bias. In today’s world, if you don’t have access to elite networks, financial resources or both, it just doesn’t make sense to pursue a career in history. In the future, history won’t just be written by the victors; it’ll also be written by the well-to-do.
If Americans don’t seriously invest in history and other humanities disciplines, we encourage the ahistoric ignorance upon which reaction relies. Many Republican politicians support “divisive concepts” laws that try to regulate what college professors teach. Are they aiming at an easy target in the culture war? Perhaps. But it’s also true that a humanities education encourages thinking that often challenges xenophobic and racist dogma. Progress depends on studying and arguing about the past in an open and informed manner. This is especially true in a moment like our own, in which Americans use history to fight over which vision of the country will dominate politics. If there are no historians to reflect meaningfully and accurately on the past, then ignorance and hatred are sure to triumph.
Without professional historians, history education will be left more and more in the hands of social media influencers, partisan hacks and others unconcerned with achieving a complex, empirically informed understanding of the past. Take, for example, Bill O’Reilly’s 12-books-and-counting “Killing” series — the best-selling nonfiction series of all time, according to Mr. O’Reilly’s publishers — whose very framing sensationalizes the past by focusing on “the deaths and destruction of some of the most influential men and powerful nations in human history.” The same could be said about Rush Limbaugh’s “Rush Revere” series for young people, in which a time-traveling and tri-corner-hatted Mr. Limbaugh teaches “about some of the most exceptional Americans.” Or consider Twitter, where debates over history regularly erupt — and just as regularly devolve into name-calling. If professional historians become a thing of the past, there will be no one able to temper these types of arguments with coolheaded analysis and bring a seriousness of purpose, depth and thoughtful consideration to discussions of who Americans are and who we want to be as a nation.
Americans must do everything in their power to avert the end of history. If we don’t, exaggerations, half-truths and outright lies will dominate our historical imagination and make it impossible to understand, and learn from, the past.
These are some interesting views about current American social situation.As a student of history, I find this very sad - and troublesome.
Opinion | The Dangerous Decline of the Historical ProfessionIs this actually the end of history?www.nytimes.com
I couldn't stop watch this. Just amazing interview and some real good views and of course music from Bruce Springsteen.
And a link in the above article shows how dire the situation is for millions in the southwest:“Is it just a campground now?” Mr. McCue, 36, asked one recent morning, after he and his father installed gutters and rain barrels for a new drinking-water filtration system.
“We’re really hoping we don’t go dry by summer,” he said. “Then we’ll be in a really bad spot.”
In a scramble to conserve, people are flushing their toilets with rainwater and lugging laundry to friends’ homes. They are eating off paper plates, skipping showers and fretting about whether they have staked their fates on what could become a desiccated ghost suburb.
Governor Katie Hobbs took a step in fulfilling her promise of transparency in her administration, unsealing an until-now unreleased report that Phoenix’s West Valley is short of its 100-year supply of water required by law. She followed the drastic announcement with an Executive Order to modernize Arizona’s groundwater management.
“I do not understand, and do not in any way agree with, my predecessor choosing to keep this report from the public and from members of this legislature. However, my decision to release this report signals how I plan to tackle our water issues openly and directly,” Governor Hobbs said in her State of the State Address. ...
The same lack of groundwater regulation is prevalent in the U.S....
There are effectively no restrictions on groundwater pumping and lack of support for smaller communities.
“This is why you see a Saudi Arabian conglomerate pumping local groundwater nearly unchecked in La Paz County today, to grow water-intensive crops and send them to the other side of the planet,” the governor said.
Well, I did not know this. I thought Neanderthals predated modern-day Homo sapiens by like: centuries. It seems I (OK you too maybe) was mistaken.
I also didn't know Neanderthals often resorted to cannibalism, particularly when resources became limited. I further didn't know that Homo neanderthalensis and H. sapiens evolved within the same epoch, also engaging in conflicts regarding overlapping territories.
If you knew this already, you have my respect. I'm proud of myself b/c I was able to watch something "educational" for more than 2 minutes.