The Landscape Of History Essay

1627 words - 7 pages

In The Landscape of History, John Lewis Gaddis makes a cohesive argument concerning about the debate over the objectivity of truth by stating “objectivity as a consequence is hardly possible, and that there is, therefore, no such thing as truth (Gaddis 29). The question for objective history has long been debated by numerous historians, and the differing viewpoints of history have led to a transition in our ways of thinking in the modern world. Ultimately, the question that this paper focuses on is: to what extent is history objective? Along with this, the relation to historical consciousness and the challenges of living in modernity will also be assessed. This paper will analyze the texts of John Lewis Gaddis, Nietzsche and the Birth of Tragedy, Modernity and Historical Vision, Living in Modernity, and Hermeneutics. Finally, the paper will argue that history is not largely objective, and is fundamentally shaped through the historian’s subjectivity.
John Lewis Gaddis, in his book, The Landscape of History, generates a strong argument for the historical method by bringing together the multiple standpoints in viewing history and the sciences. The issue of objective truth in history is addressed throughout Gaddis’s work. In general, historians learn to select the various events that they believe to be valid. Historians must face the fact that there is an “accurate” interpretation of the past ceases to exist because interpretation itself is based on the experience of the historian, in which people cannot observe directly (Gaddis 10). Historians can only view the past in a limited perspective, which generates subjectivity and bias, and claiming a piece of history to be “objective” is simplistic. Seeing the world in a multidimensional viewpoint can provide a better understanding of the history of our world, but historians can never utilize all the possible views of the past. In addition, historians can only express history by representing the past, as a cartographer does with aping the landscape. The past for historians is simply out of our reach, and yet, in a sense, the past is vital to the human and historical consciousnesses, allowing us to predict the future as we live in the present. The unreachable history leads Gaddis to state that history is “inaccessible to us: we cannot relive, retrieve, or rerun it as we might some laboratory experiment or computer simulation” (Gaddis 3). History is unlike the experimental sciences, which require the discovery of empirical evidence to support an assumption; it involves the “interdependency of variables” (Gaddis 55). The past and representing it to reality were thought differently between the “reductionist” and “ecological” historians, where reductionism embraces independent, objective truths, by breaking down history to its smallest parts and the ecological state that these “parts” in history are all interrelated, a sense of a “web-like” thinking. In an essence, history, in the perspective of Gaddis,...

Find Another Essay On The Landscape of History

History, Physical Information, Population, Cultural Landscape, Government, Economy of Mexico

3161 words - 13 pages Historical SummaryThe history of Mexico began when Indians of unknown tribes migrated from the north into what is now Mexico. They arrived before 8000 B.C. These people were hunters who followed herds of buffalo, mammoths, mastodons, and other large animals. Their way of life explains why they lived in small, temporary communities. Then in 7500 B.C., the climate became drier, and the herds could not find enough food and became extinct. Because

The Everglades: Florida's Unique Landscape of Change

2448 words - 10 pages The Everglades is a diverse ecosystem located in southern Florida, yet urbanization has created a considerable amount of impact that has altered the physical landscape of the region, resulting in a symbiotic environment between humans and nature. Based on geographical research, the original Everglades spanned an area of approximately 12,000km2, and now because of urbanization and agricultural growth in this sub-region the area of the Everglades

Landscape With The Fall Of Icarus

590 words - 2 pages In the poem, "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" by William Carlos Williams, the author has an optimistic attitude towards death. Instead of a mournful setting, Williams makes you see the good things that can come out of the situation. Williams scarcely talks about Icarus' death. The first four stanzas of the poem talks about the landscape and the plowing of the field, while only the last stanza even mentions Icarus' death. No one paid

The Changing Landscape of College Football

1861 words - 7 pages The Changing Landscape of College FootballDivision I college football, has always been an evolving sport. From the creation of the sport in the early twentieth century to the formation of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) in 1998, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has always prided itself on its ability to adapt the sport to modern day's expectations. But are the newest changes and shiftings of major collegiate athletic

The Social Landscape Through the Lens of Jewish Identity

2623 words - 10 pages that he does indeed possess a strong connection to his cultural history. He reads numerous books on the Holocaust, and in one scene he becomes offended by Michelle's use of the word “Holocaust,” explaining to her that the more acceptable term is “Shoah.” His sensitivity towards anti-Semitism is very revealing of the French society he lives in; when Michelle uses the word “vile” he accuses her of being anti-Semitic

‘In what ways has the landscape of Dublin expressed the power of ruling elites?’

896 words - 4 pages authority, where they are a useful target for demonstrations of opposition. In the late nineteenth to early twentieth century, public statues made power concrete in the landscape. Monuments have often been erected to challenge the legitimacy of government and objectify revolutionary movements. This is true in post-colonial countries emerging from the shadow of political domination (Whelan, 2002). Cosgrove suggests “all landscapes are symbolic

Comparison of Two Short Stories- "The Yellow Wall Paper" v. "Death by Landscape"

1303 words - 5 pages "Death by Landscape" v. "The Yellow Wallpaper""She was tired a lot, as if she was living not one life but two: her own, and another, shadowy life that hovered around her and would not let itself be realized…" (391). For many, the "shadowy life" of mental illness hinders one's ability to be happy and whole. Mental illness and delusion has been a fascinating but devastating topic throughout human existence, and as such, has provided much

The Role of Humans and Climate on Landscape Evolution on Dartmoor

1473 words - 6 pages , ‘climate’ describes long term weather patterns, Meteorologists determine ‘climate’ by taking weather measurements over a period of 25 years and calculating the averages (Dartmoor National Park Authority, 2005). Dartmoor appears to be a landscape relatively unchanged by humans except for a few visible stone walls and roads. However if you look closer you see hills, gullies and indentations, scar the landscape which are remnants of tinners scouring the

In what ways has Channel 4 altered the landscape of British television broadcasting for its competitors?

2180 words - 9 pages British broadcasting as a whole - indeed we saw a repetition of these revolutionary events with the birth of Channel 5 in 1998, which we will examine more fully later.Firstly, a brief history lesson. In 1977, The Annan Report argued for a 'third force' in British broadcasting to break up the duopoly of the BBC and ITV. The two opposing views previously to this had been (1) for the creation of an ITV2, and (2) for something completely different. What

How does R.S. Thomas convey a sense of the Welsh people and landscape of rural Wales in his poems?

1115 words - 4 pages R.S. Thomas was born in Cardiff in 1913 and became the rector of Manafon church in 1942. He was a rector there for twelve years and during that time, he taught himself the Welsh language so he could better understand and relate to the local people. At first sight, his poetry is based around a narrow range of subjects: the Welsh people and landscape, but the emotional range of his poetry is vast and it tends to be universalised.The three main

Describe the geological & morphological development of the Malham area. How has this affected human utilisation of this landscape over the last 10,000 years?

3888 words - 16 pages ''Describe the geological & morphological development of the Malham area. How has this affected human utilisation of this landscape over the last 10,000 years?''Malham is a small village at the southern base of the Yorkshire Dales. The area around Malhamhas many examples of limestone landforms and the cliffs of Malham are made of strong, white, carboniferous limestone (Waltham 2007).It is also shaped by glacial erosion which dates to 10,000

Similar Essays

The History Of "America’s Musical Landscape" By Jean Ferris

645 words - 3 pages In the text book America’s Musical Landscape by Jean Ferris, the book takes us through the history of the evolution of American music. The book delves into the different time periods of America’s music beginning with early North American music all the way to today’s modern music. Additionally, the book also explains how music, theater and film intertwine to provide some spectacular art. Jean Ferris finishes the book by exploring America’s

The Political Landscape And Colonial History

1465 words - 6 pages The various countries that make up sub-Saharan Africa have a dynamic political landscape of institutions, conflict, and human security that have been influenced by colonial history (Braithwaite, 2014). 50 plus countries make up the geographical landscape of sub-Saharan Africa (Library of Congress, 2010). Using South Africa as one example, the context of colonial legacies, history of power, trade production, independence, government type, and

The Features Of Landscape Urbanism Essay

658 words - 3 pages Landscape Urbanism is best equipped to assist Lyndon’s “multiplicity of cultures seeking at once to find their way in the present and to forge their place in the future” because it positions landscape “as the most relevant meduim for the production and representation of contemporary urbanism.” The interdisciplinary model it uses is one which positions landscape as the generator, rather than backdrop, of urban development. The public landscape

The American Landscape Of Literature Essay

2096 words - 8 pages The authors J.D Salinger and Joseph Heller have created novels that depict the American landscape based on spirit, culture, identity and values. American spirit is defined through rebellion in both novels. J.D Salinger captures rebellion through Holden’s refusal to go with the flow of society, and Joseph Heller shows rebellion using Yossarian to capture rebellion by his ideals that it is better to survive then fight in a war while most Americans