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firstname.lastname@example.org I am not sure what the latest posts on this are suggesting. I think it is pretty well understood that historians assess historical evidence using the conceptual system they've developed in interaction with their times and culture. That would include their political preferences and moral standards. So what? They still need to apply basic rules of evidence and reasonable logic to the narratives they construct. Those narratives must be consistent with the evidence and with logic, but they are still interpretations of the evidence, not general laws describing some single all-encompassing historical reality. As for passing judgment, why not? As long as you realize you do this as an ordinary citizen, not in any capacity as a historian. I will offer an example. I am currently reading Jeffrey Herf's Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World. It is plain as day that Herf is horrified, as I would wish all others would be, at the anti-Jewish venom that pervaded the Nazi effort to propagandize Arabs, via such odious characters as Haj Amin el-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. Herf's values surely shape his way of framing the questions he seeks to answer and his selection and presentation of evidence. I do not think they allow him to avoid following basic rules of evidence and logic in describing what Hitler, the Mufti and all the rest actually did, said, intended, etc. I sympathize with Herf's moral stance in every way about these matters, but if he failed to tell the story accurately, I'd never take an interest in it as history. As to the West and the Rest issue, Haines Brown seems to think the "snap answer" to how the West rose to dominance was the unique triumph there of "individuals who see private power as a means to lord it over those who do not have as much power and this is the only way to validate oneself." Now perhaps he is right or wrong. It is clear to me he does not like this trend he describes (he calls it a "pathology" at one point). That's okay, but the only issue for a historian, as I see it, is to define carefully what "private power" means and what "validate" means, etc., and then assemble evidence proving Europe was unique in arising due to individuals so driven by these things. I personally doubt the case can be made, though I think something along these lines might be true. I suspect the drive to "lord it over" others is well-nigh universal as a major tendency in every culture. I do think a restless individualism, of both a "pathological" as well as a very admirable sort (or both at once) was given a special boost in Europe, but again the issue is evidence for that, and for my own nuance on it, not whose values should prevail.