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tv   James Banner The Ever- Changing Past  CSPAN  July 17, 2021 12:31pm-2:02pm EDT

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leadership during world war ii. his grandfather served at the ranch in the army's european theater. on an oral history, and you -year-old wally will put a space for the first time on july 20th with jeff bezos and the space programs, talk about being one of nasa's mercury 13. a group of women to become astros in the early 50s but unlike their male counterparts, the never flew a nasa mission. america history tv every weekend, find a full schedule program guide or visit >> it is my genuine pleasure to introduce our speaker and author this afternoon, james banner and currently visiting scholar in history the george washington university and is no stranger to the washington seminars and is a cofounder of national history
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center in one of his sponsors. in regular participant in the seminar. and in person in the past year over the virtual realm and today you won't be able to ask questions to him we get to them of you. founder of the american association for the advancement of the humanities and is the recipient of charles florence and the fellowship and among his many publications, the hartford convention and federalist in the origins of party politics in massachusetts, 1789 - 1850 published in 1989 back him and being in a historian, an introduction to professional role with history cambridge university press 2012 and 2019, healed a timely edited volume, misconduct from george washington until today put out my new press. this afternoon, he will be speaking on his just published yelp university the ever-changing past all history
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is and that, jim, the summa room is all yours. >> thank you so much the racial and i think absent today in the billings, and two peter also and particularly, sarah who i have known it since the late 60s in the early 70s princeton. i want to show everyone a copy of sarah's wonderful book, thinking about history and a recommended that everybody become acquainted with it and read it. no one taken its wisdom. i want to start this evening for this afternoon with a brief story about the origins have this book. i suppose that one has to say that it its origins can only of happened in the washington. and when a colleague for some
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you know, roger brown and historian like myself of the early american republic and i found myself sitting in the supreme court chambers of justin clarence thomas. we were leaving about 55 high school teachers to what had become known as constitution boot camp, a multiple program on the origins of american constitutional government and the justice that agreed to speak to agree to enter speak with us and he wanted to be brief so roger and i were sitting in this chamber and having a very lively conversation is very lively very well-informed and very smiley man. i'm pleased with himself and he realized that the historians there and he said, hey guys, you might want to call the time spending the summer reading books about the history of slavery in the south who can we say but terrific it mr. justice,
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tell us what you are reading any named john hope franklin and stamping others. but not he said, - any mania had in mind robert vogel and the spending the time, he did not go down that road and said roger and i had the way to say, you know what we think of franklin and particularly did not know much about them so we led him through the history particularly of franklin from slavery to freedom from 1947 until the time we were speaking of the justice. in franklin's life, and we wound of the conversation so we said mr. justice, the books that you are reading for the summer, keep in mind are works of permission us history and indeed some of them are important works of history of the late 20th century. but with that, uneasy with the
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conversation, justin thomas took the conversation in a another direction. now roger and i could have contributed the switch because you would've said this conversation is going really well and we were likely to say, what you mean. he couldn't do that. and of course weekend attribute that to his originalist thinking. but i think that more was at stake than that. justice thomas like so many people had a view of static and forever, stable, certain that context, separate from his creators intentions and disposition. that experience bothered me for many years that's what led me to try to explain when we mean when we use the term vision us. in my original thought was far from thinking through subject
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that eventually in a recent years become the fill the headlines that of course the subject became more than academic, it became urgent and relevant and i of course written this book looking over my shoulder about true and fake news and true would take history and facts and everything else. i was there anything new to say about the subject. after all, they oriented themselves in the literature of the subject before they dig into the subject rated so we all know what revisionist history means. after thinking about the subject for a few years in writing a book about this, i don't think that we do. so i'm taking a stand and the subject and no doubt it is not the path you undertaken or any of you would've taken and one of the reasons is because it is not
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much literate sure i'm revisionist history as a general phenomenon. all of us who write practice history, no it for our particular special subject. so we take it for granted the amino literature one of the work we are doing. and what contribution they make make what we are trying to make someone. were all appointed with revisionist history but we haven't talked about the subject as a whole. and in fact my book is only the second book that i know of an english language on the subject in the first one written is publish and 1929. written by lucy maynard salmon very good book of its time but no longer suits are on a. so what i say as a result of it
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to her through uncharted territory. it's not a big literature of how the revisionist history and all their books about the history of the civil war, tom presley's book. and there's certainly folks most wonderful books about the history of historical cause. needless to say, one that i have taken up asthma should do with historical book from a particular site, i am not trying to make sense of how historical has changed because is been taken up by people who are greatly my better in the subject. i've been just cutting into it anyway and for what i'm going to say from now on, is me speaking. some argument with an existing literature. i try to go at the subject is
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mr. cannon and out all of you would do it differently. you're welcome to do so i think we need much more discussion of the subject and me up ever had. so, let me begin and have a kind of a tour to solve the subject on doing with the general and all non. that has existed and i have to argue in his ability statement from the days. and revisionist history is an integral component of historical lot. in his component of historical thought and has a history of its own distinct from the own historical thought but it is a component of this that has been little thought about. what is revisionist history you
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will ask me. defining it is difficult for you to take a broader view of it when the makes a rework of history at the least respectively and potentially revisionist. the history is any work seems to to me that adds to our knowledge of the past or that adds a fresh interpretation of some aspect of it. and that is any challenge existing interpretations of any aspect of the past on about my new evidence, new arguments, new perspectives or new methods so i offer a definition of revisionist history to you predict to promiscuous, some people think so and i don't think so but much high definition has to do with scale which i will get to in a few minutes. i think it will help clarify the definition of broad definition
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that i'm offering to you. employing such a broad definition of a revisionist history, i am trying to bring consideration of the larger phenomenon in the open because as you've already heard me say that it really deserves more attention than it has received. history after all, i suspect some minimal will agree with me and etc. i believe will certainly grant me is comparatively under theorized discipline and i'm not often a hard case in history should find itself with the literary scholars or historians. but we have been woefully lax and are exposing yourself to the realities and the logical and philosophical yes the historical realities of historical inquiry. i would love to get on the road but that is a subject for some other times in the place and
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really, for people who know more about the logic of mystical inquiry and so on and i do. when i think of it as a subject like the sociology of the humanities desperately needs attention and asked myself quite frequently, where is the humanities and why do not we have sociology of humanities and perhaps social sciences as we do with science. to me it's really very very noticeable lack in our intellectual universe. but let me now turn to the subject. one is that i concluded in the looking over as best i can basically an enemy american and i know the least amount about western history but not a specialist in the history of the
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west. and what if i concluded in reviewing what i thank you so important to know about the history as it has been pursued in the west. one of the first place, without question it seems to me the revisionist history has been with us since the beginning, is simply wrong to think is meeting today in the right, no doubt and also on the left, wrong believe group revisionist history is somehow part of the awful post- 1960s decades. and here is my witness, none other than the classicist historian of classic times, donald kagan mayor tests of yale. his formidable scholar and he has argued in his wonderful book
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that is the first revisionist historian. i'm happy to stand behind don kagan. and i think that i have go back to this. but those two men, say these who are inaugurated historical inquiry has become to know it. they will both inquiring you find its who took nothing for granted and they were skeptical about the evidence of the book before them in the case the right of the bat, as to what were the correct life to be defending in the subject of historical inquiry so why did the very origins of historical in the west, we have an argument between these lucidity's made trinity back as far as we know.
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it is an argument that convinces them about how history is to be done. in the second place, revisionist history is never cohabitated with the particular ideology or religion nor party are a, nor again as the likes and fears and the left when all interpretive battles. now here again, i think that one testified of these cities and 2300 years, 2300 years. the kind of history that the lucidity's did commanded the field to excel. it was man, military affairs, political affairs, institutions and the relations between states. and struggle as people began from the 18th century on to break out of that semi prison of
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historical inquiry and really did not make substantial progress on ourselves where we are today until sometime in the 19th century critic of the conditional, the conservative, approach to historical inquiry for 2300 years, and after the great promiscuous and curious person that he was, wrote social and cultural intellectual as well as political military history on and looked into the kind of historian hannah's target printed history that we've been dealing with since the fourth century of the christian era which christians story our movie inaugurated by cbs official because and home,
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certainly christian has commanded the field until recently. and happened to the historic of the french revolution. they declared some years ago, that the french revolutionists overwhelming and sensory like about the middle-of-the-road. not a conservative position, sans accepted it personally of course, but in the victory that the components of the space museum in the mid-nineties with a one pretty they win these battles as well as people the left or liberals. system particular stable safe home or any kind of historical interpretation of this political
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spectrum. and the third place, there are many goliaths revisionist history. try to give these varieties some names. all of you might find different ways to distinguish different kinds of revisionist history you might even think that the exercise that a public sellthrough is relevant. i don't because to say that something is revisionist history, flexing that ice is colder that mochas might. it doesn't say very much and you really have to ask yourselves and speaking up different fresh challenging interpretations, markets on spectrum of revisionist history what kind of revisionist history and his pretty it is. i see it falling into a number of categories for example transformational history.
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deeply consequent consequential ways of seeing the past but alter really forever the way in which the past is understood. my point here, you see this transformation it history from the pagan classic mold in the wesley to christian mold of interpretation. i also put marxist of theories in the same category even though they did not call themselves historians or thinkers of a different kind. then there is philosophical revisionism in the kind of argument that we have is a correct way to do this through history being traditional kind or can be broader freer and encompass everything, emotions, the sound, pencils and bookcases and everything.
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we have histories of everything. would not have been possible to centuries ago and some people think this is much too far. this what i call conceptual history or conceptual revisionist history in distinct ways to conceptualize the past in ways. for example, women's history. in theories of changes in the petition of women in the united states and elsewhere that have hugely advanced our understanding of not only women's history but history of every western it society that we know anything of and then there's also what i would call method driven revisions. kind of that arises in the availability of methods that were not available to us in earlier days. the dna of sampling is in my
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view, the major example for example, it was because of dna science that we were able to learn about and really i think the relationship thomas jefferson and sally hemmings. in review of virginia and jefferson in slavery and everything else. could not have been done without the dna science and there's evidence driven revisionism. new ways of looking at the past because of the discovery of new evidence. for example, the dead sea scrolls, they altered our understanding of the eastern mediterranean in the days of jews and palestinians in that
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entire crescent of the east and then whatever is left over is normal. normal revisionist history. and i don't want to go beyond that because it's what most of us do. we will define what's been argued before and are just abuse of that subject, we had to it is been known or thought about the subject and sometimes the revisionist history can be influential and important then there's the matter scale which i thank you so very important. when i returned to the matter of the definition of revisionist. you have to keep in mind the nature subject is being
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discussed. for example, no one is going to claim that the new way of looking at the battle of little whatchamacallit is really revisionist. certainly not in the skill of the christian transformation of western historiography but if we keep scale and scholarly conflicts in mind, in this case work about it battle scarcely going into any major dimension of this choreography and then my view, is revisionist within a scholarly context. and in that sense, it deserves to be called revisionist history even though very few of us believe the article are the short walk that takes a battle whose name in place i just made up.
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so course is not a skill but revisionist history nonetheless and in the event with the context of its subject. and then i asked myself, so we do about revisionist history and if i dig into the phenomenon, but as a do for public and civic life. does it have any use not only to historians with the people, the citizens and the subject. i think it's better off test questions were live revisionist histories bear fruit. and i think the answer is no question yes the subject and i refer to sarah, historian of
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france i take the histories of the french revolution which really helped to define the way in which france understood the nationstate with a friend to understood as a people with potency and political capacity and historians who played an extraordinary role in defining french nation to the french themselves. and i think the same kind of fruits were generated in the gay controversy here in the united states and 90s because of a clear the people, i assume were being generated here in the national space museum and because it clarified for people what it was at stake if we try
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to memorialize and understand recent history of one of the defining events of the 20th century. make no difference to me as an analyst to one that battle. rather than the debate itself was being an educational and was one of the fruits from the debate as to how past was to be presented. military the air force side or the academic historians who had a different view of the past in the air force veterans did. also, we have to keep in mind that revisionist history does not take place in the confines of the academy, never house and it still doesn't.
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we do not as professional historians control the course of the historical inquiry. this might be a truism of, for most of us but i think it still has to be uttered kept in mind predict cultures and societies and opinion all play a strong role in historians may not follow the election returns but we exist in the culture in which we were born and we live our lives. we have to do a better job of confronting the cynicism about what is taken to be a partiality. designing human population that has no relationship to its culture, the social relations, its geographic location. to expect chinese composure's to write music in the manner of, status. john adams for another.
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don't we all live comfortably with the poetry. and it's a lot of choices that we have, all different people, different temperaments and different dispositions. we write different histories. and that is what makes historical knowledge so rich. i think not minds of all of us who are gathered here this afternoon. and i do think that we need to pay more attention in explaining to our students to the general public that we do are best to be aware of the limits to our own faults and we do our best to keep in mind our search for final fruit. in about certain aspects of the
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best. but we remain ourselves and we can only see the past out of her own temperaments and places in society and our own origins. next is to the fact that unless historical would be divorced from all life, is to make sense to the people in the era in which it is produced. so that means that historical interpretations will eventually glad the data no longer speak to later times the way they did when they were developed written and produced. it's the same thing with a popular music, the public it is appointed. [inaudible]. seems like. his musical cases are different because music and now appeals
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the people who are alive today the same thing but our history so interpretations won't speak to people today which is reserved in the goal of distorting themselves members of the population are part of the world for which the lived. so we are part of the context pretty in summer histories are going to reflect our times in her mind is not going to differ from the histories of earlier and because of that, in which the entire body of historical knowledge that has come to exist. i think of historical knowledge now yes symmetry and it is there to be cost of my new modes of thought and by new sets of use the same way that strata are exposed by volcanoes and
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earthquakes and so on. and if they are in the soils, the ready to be used and always affecting histories that we have in the children of our predecessors. which gives me filing to the necessary question of objectivity. we can be held to the standard of god like completion and sing and all-knowing and all it wants. we move forward like snakes or crabs do from side to side and not in straight lines and we had to what was caught written before us. we pride ourselves still i think we have to towards was call that noble dream of objectivity.
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one of the reviewer's urgent that i dropped the subject of objectivity. i did not take that advice because i thought glenn is been thought about problem objectivity since peter novick is wonderful in the 1980s. we learned a lot about objectivity could not have been written about the thought of since then. say for example, david volk the past upon our country in which he makes the sharpest distinction between histories inhabited in history is recalled and left in the evidence. these two are separated into
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four distinct in ways that cannot be bridged. there's a new histories on scientific objectivity. they will be on tom's earlier work and i refer here to urge all of you to become acquainted with wonderful book of objectivity by lorraine fessenden peter callison. the make the case and it is convincing to me, that scientists are implicated in their science. in science, there's no such thing as an impersonal science, the science grows out of human needs and intentions. and i think that human scientists objectivity is incorrect. i think that one has to we have to is historians differ a bit to the knowledge of such historians of science and see that science
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itself probably at least if we understand it today, the objectives in the old ways that we thought recorded and then of course, there is contents of discourse theory coming out of europe and the death of the author and so on. and since peter novick's book. the advances of neuroscience and in memory. and it makes it impossible for me to think that they can never be certain unchanging you in any part of the past that every interpretation of the past is relative to every other one. and that you understand the past only by understanding all of the ways in which people so far and
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interpretative a certain part of the past and so in that sense, i end up in a post modern physician although i have never thought of myself as a postmodernist and when i think about the subject of objectivity has told me by others, i think we accept the ideals noble dream of trying to understand the past that we never get there. and of course, the statement can be translated is two ways. we entangle world of think the translations to be asked the past has actually happened. another translations, would have it as the past essentially happened. it is a very different essentially and if we take it
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the statement in the second translation, and the spirit of the second translation, we probably have it right. we were driving ourselves almost to get closer to what really happened but we will never get there but if we can get to understand what essentially happened, we can narrow the differences in arguments and then we are making progress. soy and with the sense that revisionist history is part of an open democratic society. a society that prohibits his members from freely conceptualizing the past by the use of evidence and freely criticizing what others have written about the past is not a free society. it is north korea, it is russia,
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is hungry, it is texas, and we should celebrate ministry, we should explain to those who are fearful of it, we think there's something wrong with it. we should respond to them what we historians do and where we come out better than we have succeeded in doing this on the features it makes our intellectual life so robust so creative. freedom to create the histories and what we think the evidence allows us to argue in the freedom to subject this histories to evaluations and sometimes to attack. unto the possible fate, announcement but adjusted in turn the microphone over to sarah. >> thank you very much that is disruptive the service of a
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book, and hope you get to explore what you and said there are other issues and it. i'm delighted to know their commentator today is christian senate the outside is sarah who has them professor in the arts and sciences and professor of history at northwestern university the specialist infringes social and cultural history and issues of historical. method interval concluded, 18th century france, uses loyalty, was by princeton university press in 1983, from the lives of public affairs, pre- revolutionary france and california press of 1993, and societies of french and historical studies rated look in the french and that is antisocial and imaginary 7050 - 1850, harvard university 2003, aha price and.
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[inaudible]. in a story of murder in 1930s in paris and university of california prison 2011, and thinking about history university of chicago press and 2017. sarah, we are delighted to have you join us in the zoom room is all yours. >> thank you i'm really honored to be asked to comment on jim banner stretch and stimulating book trento i am also looking forward to the discussion as it is a book given its subject invites debate. and perhaps my comments which may sound punchy, welcome to a surprise to jim because we been having this conversation since i first read the book in draft and i'm delighted to extend that the conversation to a larger group. so "the ever-changing past" is a wide-ranging readable one of the
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best introductions that i know to what makes the story and stick. and i encourage anyone with a broad interest in history to read it. to cut to the chase, since i don't want to take up too much time, the way that the book is set up, does involve to my mind up into, on the one hand as jim points out, introduction, really is the first book since 1929 to explicitly take on the theme, the question of historical division us. on the other hand, and here is where it becomes controversial. jim is committed to a broad definition of historical revisionism which any as mentioned this, the definition which is in the introduction and i'm quoting him.
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i define historical revisionism, nestlé is historical interpretations more specifically as any challenge to historical interpretation it brought about by evidence and arguments and new perspectives. or new methods. so the only sort of history that is not revisionist, publishes additions to historical lodge. the commonly accepted definition of revisionism, and historical profession and i think probably beyond, is the process whereby the dominant interpretation that's accepted it university universally is challenged and replaced by radically different interpretation of which often slips the orthodoxy and slide out rated and often the revolution and to the shift from
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an earth centered to a view of the universe. and you're looking at something and it's changing radically to almost to the opposite. the festival points out, the example is the history of the french revolution. i'm not just saying this because my french historian but it is also absolutely declares case in the history of agra for an until around 1965, everyone including people who were looked at marxism felt that the essence of the french revolution at was self-evident in the lives and aristocracy and the monarchy. and then as a result of a massive and successful revisionist challenge, by the 1980s, scholars in the field accepted the views but the
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revolution was as one scholar memorably put it, not a social revolution but political consequences but a political revolution with social consequences. and similar radical reframing in other fields such as the history of the cold war. the initial paradigm of soviet aggression in most swing shift into a paradigm of u.s. aggression and to say that the affair reflected another kind of revisionist view from the decision to drop the bomb was regrettable but necessary to the dropping of the bomb was aggressive and strategic. in the first act in the cold war named the soviets in salons other a few quite a few some more clear than others model this slipping inside out which
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is the historians with the usually think of when they say revisionism. so these revisions that i mentioned avenue quickly read others have been more extended in time but is still radically revisionist as to say arguably the last few decades, increasingly in the last few years in the u.s. history as a whole thing turned inside out as black and native american history have gone from a marginal subject to essentially defining one's read something in this trail there has not been a study of revisionism and this distinct sense in a very long time then if you include in the definition, agendas, changes brought about and i am quoting him, by new evidence you under new arguments a new perceptions for the methods, then all of the
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numerous introductions to historical methods out there including my own, newsom version of that so to say the ever-changing past is both innovative and debatable in its collapsing together pretty and the one hand, it's a very distinctive process for systematic challenge to historical orthodoxy and on the other, is broader and more familiar things which is methodological innovations in history. there is one aspect of the question that jim does not to neglect, but i think that should be more central in my view possibly defining a defining argument in the book such as this on my test sociology of the profession. arguably and paradoxically, some of the most radical revisionism in the past century, came out of ultra traditional academic
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politics. three or four decades ago, when the profession it was almost entirely male, revisionist were specifically driven by a sort of testosterone fueled zero-sum gain. major career by attacking the biggest guy in your field that you dared to take on. having might involve probing the somebody else was wrong targeted should be a bulk probably at least a very good article about the field of the 17th century british history in the 20th century was a continual blood test between various firms and their american allies rated scholars with initial set of first names, attacking each other over mystifying like obscure issues connected to the english civil war card my point is that some of the most dramatic and professionalism was
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for ages and fighters came. revisionism and gems broader sense of mythological change came about with working-class females gay and minority historians interacting the profession. feminist historians started out saying were not going to pay attention to your bullies game. were looking at different subjects, and different sources. it is intended to be more academic and leaders rather than hunters. natalie davis widely considered the founding mother and feminist history in this country, made a career out of never attacking anyone read and i'm not saying that jim banner doesn't mention is he does but to me, this would be the defining theme of a book. nothing politics.
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[inaudible]. at the one time that i talk about objectivity is a sample i certainly agree with that with his diagnosis there. the historians quote, still hold to the conviction that they can and do they progress in closing the gap between historical and understanding and they still trying to allow as a reasonably impartial knowledge of what happens and why did for the best of their knowledge. and i actually came to a similar conclusion in my own book. we know we have a partial view would never be objective but we tried to do the best within the rules of the game that we all accept practical position taken in response to postmodernism by and telling the truth of the
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history and if there was reasonable view three or four years ago but i certainly inflicted now, powerful questioning of the very rules of the game in very recent years by scholars of color including luminaries like others. and they point out the very archives that we rely on our tainted since they suppress inside is a history of groups like the enslaved who had no social existence. and how these asking can you possibly continue to play by the rules of the game when those rules that is the archives that the historians wash up, by design only with certain people. and how we know objectivity is impossible but we do our best is a good message for the general public. i think it may become of
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trickier position within the profession where now basic the kind of radical challenge that is a return or could be returned for some of the most debate in the era of postmodernism. i want to end at the couple of challenges and questions. who cares to take him up to anyone going from the most to least specific first, still a specific question of sources, and with respect to jim's statement on page 162, that evidence based revisionism discovery nature in new historical sources is the holy grail of amongst historians and yes it does make a big difference when formally close archives are opened up for research and are extremely poor and sources in something like the dead sea scrolls me to a
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huge difference beyond that, for most historians, actually believe that history changes when you find a new source of the, we find new sources when we ask new questions. the dna evidence that jim mentioned it, proving the paternity of children, is powerfully conclusive but historians only when after the dna evidence because jefferson's relationship to him like went from an item to foundational symbolic story about race and gender the nation's founding. so on this particular point i would take two different and the other question challenge that i have returned books definition of traditionalism rated which includes rewriting self nature history, methodological change and even a banner right added to
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history, the lowest common denominator of revisionist history given all of this, given how broad the definition is, my question would civilly be can you offer examples of notable works of history that are not revisionist. what would be beyond this revisionist history o'clock and finally, my final question is very brief and basic it. i was curious about the definition of revisionism and of course i went to the old internet to check it out right now set of the original formulations connected to marxism, all of the examples i found were historical. my question is do other disciplines engaged in this and if not why is it only history that does. so with that, i'll get out of the way so that conversation can begin. >> thank you so much sarah and i suspect we can take up the rest
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of the evening just scratching the surface of the questions that you pose the large number of people in the queue eager to ask questions such him, if you could just take a moment or two to respond to some of what sarah said and then we can open it up. >> i will grade and you and i sarah will continue this later i hope. in the questions are very much they get me thinking. and probably better than i did pretty. jim: sinuses, don't know how you write this, if you don't have evidence. and i theorize that and i have read some of the reports in fact i just finished something speculative because it doesn't exist and have been crucified in peer reviewed is very hard to deal with the past if you don't have any evidence for part of it that you're interested in. and so i think think the criticism the comments are very
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services been other disciplines yes, there certainly histories of art and music, the ones that i know the best and different schools of sociology and so on. having the answer that has to be yes, but when a non- revisionist history look like rated want to be history. would-be animals particles and we have those. we have them all into the early modern period and we don't like them anymore. boring detail is. to devoid of interpretation. in devoid of totality in fact, they look a lot like eighth-grade emerging history back after backup effect pretty and i try to put into those. we don't succeed but that should be part of our remix pretty heavy stuff there. and thank you usually for your
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comments and as many as i could keep up with hand eric, i turned back to you pretty. >> thank you so now going to open this in a moment up you can use the race and function now you can depose your question directly and you can use the q&a function which i can depose your question and similarly, e-mail address, tw you edu especially to those on facebook live in and we are watching you watch her underwriter questions in the way. let me take this prerogative to throw one out to get us started jim. on the sort of issue of scale, imagine the most historians do not view themselves more than necessarily race the path of transformative revisionist. that is the biggie. most of its normal human historians do not get that far on in what we do.
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all water is wet, ice is cold and all histories revisionism, i am wondering if there's a different phenomenon that might reflect on. historians has pack animals. or heard historians or a flock of historians. that is to say rather than transform knowledge as we know it, maybe in the realm of the additive category that you have quite often we don't break new conceptual ground, we reinforce old conceptual ground and that we take comfort or find yourselves behind a protective barrier but other people dead. when you just reflect about how historians go about doing the work. we too cautious, do we follow
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the pied piper, the historian leader and don't attempt to be more revisionist than perhaps we could. jim: eric, those are good questions and i don't think or feel myself capable of answering them. because i think that some people go into their work and research and arguments with a determination to prove something wrong or as you would say, i think to prove something right for you to confirm what is already been nona rated some of us right history and as i also insist on once it is sound, no control of the use to which it will be put side of the fate of what we write or for what purposes some very fine history have been used for miscast and misinterpreted it for those
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reasons. and it seems to me that confirming history can be a revisionist in that it adds two ways to strengthen previous arguments or invokes additional evidence to strengthen an existing way of looking at things. or it takes an approach one subject and applies it to another which hasn't felt the impact of that approach was used in another subject in the subject. what i am really rooting is that we be more to enter a generous and accepting and what we do ant the colleagues try to do even wn we disagree with them. as a collectivity in as a
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community of thinkers, author and evidence that exists. and insist on. we move forward in argument, we move forward in collective endeavor. but both of you have raised the truth of sysop potential historical work. i have taught the subject twice and i will tell you absolutely sarah you're right, my students are as interested in learning about what historians argue with each other and where their arguments have come from and how the canonization of history has affected what we think about and how we go about our work and how the introduction of new populations into our midst has transformed historiography the last 50 and 60 years and they are fascinated by that there's a sword in the story to hear to
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tell him historians are not told and sociologist have not told it. need to be told. >> thank you. here's a guest. we'll introduce yourself and ask your question please read. >> can you hear me. yes, thank you very much. good to see you and jim i wanted to ask you, how much were influenced by your book which i was honored to do have an essay unit on african-american history, a century of american historiography's. and it seems to me that many of these issues that you are addressing here, basically raised in the book because i think most of those essays are revisionist. jim: bob, i don't see you but it is nice to have you on.
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those essays covered the historiography of those perspective fields, african-american history, native american history, the history of politics in the history international affairs can someone. i was i think all of us, more professional as academic and stories very well versed in the literature of our special subjects and specially subject rated for with historians, but as i said earlier earlier, i'm trying to send back and look at that from a kind of a phenomenal position of pregame standing above all those essays that you and i were involved in bringing to publication and standing above them and asking okay, so what does all of this mean as a general phenomenon and that is the contribution that i have been trying to make. into that degree become
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literature and other fields, did make a difference to me. now propel me in writing this book. >> samantha has her hannah read very good introduce yourself please. >> yes hello. how do you know or is there a way to know are part of my when there's enough evidence to deem worthy of revisionist history. i'm not sure what else how to ask it how do you know when somebody has enough proof to qualify and bring up that topic it pretty to challenge a topic, is there a way of quantifying that. jim: i don't think so. in a manner like this, i do the
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test mainly to you know it when you see it. then you argue about it. you and i might differ in both of us might be right or both of us might be wrong as to whether something is a revisionist or whether the evidence to make an argument is unsatisfactory negative been adequate to make that argument. what is the process of debating and arguing and changing our views and learning from others. that is a hallmark of historical inquiry and has been for tune out in trenton after millennia and that is upon impact makes was impossible to cleanse our work arguments and disagreements and controversies and sometimes bitter battle. and the only way we can make
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progress is arguing with each other and trying to close the gaps and trying to people of goodwill learn from each other. there is no way of getting unanimity on evidence. it's critical evaluation. i think. >> thank you and here's another hannah. >> thank you my name is david and i'm a constitutional law scholar who feels compelled to correct this attribution and was actually stuart said he,. >> , you are absolutely right pretty. >> that's not what he wanted to say, i read a service play once i had a line that anyone can predict the future but who can predict the past and history's collective memory and eminent
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nero biology so that all memory is indigenous memory more important is there any way to predict future revisionist history. [laughter] >> well, that is a good question i'm going to take a pass on that second question. because simply because we are not predictors. we are people work with what we know and not what we can dream. and that is our profession i suppose in the negative one. goodman also is terribly cynical. i want to the distinction between skepticism and cynicism. both would dismiss street and all historians work because you're only working on their own prejudices in their own origins and their own situations and someone.
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this is cynical approach. we are very good with criticism and evaluation and knowledge and trained the way we are and what recently good but expunging our work in the most egregious prejudices and biases. we can never escape them in the neuroscientists which you wisely side, do not believe that all memory is defective. it is partial and evidence and remind is partial because it differs from every other mind and it seems to me that our job as historians is to try to determine what is valid evidence and valid argument. it and weep don't have evidence, we are in trouble and that is the problem to which sarah was
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alluding earlier. people are trying to figure out how lessons can be made of silence. in their absences prayed in the evidence in the same way that you have to begin to figure out and pay more attention constant attention to neuroscience to figure out how we use and how we evaluate and cautious about memory mistakes. not all memory is defective, it really is not, the neuroscientists will tell you that some of it is undermined is have some of this defect is well and certainly criticism and discussion like this does the same. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. hi jim and eric and others freedom student of professor here rated gym, and the
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introduction to the book, congratulations by the way and bringing forth another child, this is amazing. in the introduction you talk about interpretive zeal, not being a quality that's exclusively the property of the left. in your note that they. sarah: left and the right for your examples of the left and people's history and of the james told you. [inaudible]. and on the pride your examples are published works at all, they are the actions of bureaucrats and hungary and vladimir putin, and the temps to scrub if you will, historians do the work and scrub references to collaboration with germans during the war and to
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uncharitable references to the former soviet union and etc. i'm sorry if i am feeling like a little bit of a sucker punch here. romeo. in all inferred from the evidence that you present, there are no professional historians and the like who are really interpreters in the same way. >> that's a very good question another to point out the imbalance and my choices, i regret that i left it that way. but frankly, knowing, the right has been the target of conservative history let's put it that way. the historiography, they have been the target since the 60s people like howard zinn and jim
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and they have done a wonderful job awakening as to the problems of that conservative historiography. how does the right that is been punching bag. so the excesses seems to be has to, from historical writings and attacks from the left. i just happened to see the dangers now on the right are more social political and they are more state centered and more authoritarian. certainly i am not claiming that they are a third and the danger of the right now is really authoritarian stake and in the focus. that is where the danger is but i am thinking doing alerting me to that imbalance of presentation and i can do in a think about i will read.
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sarah: if i can jump and since eric is advising me too, that's a really interesting point that asymmetry and there are books that are published, the right wing looks bill o'reilly for instance is the best-selling historical writers today. and there: history books about why howard zinn is wrong read so that does exist pretty but typically and it's interesting that the idea the left has been on the left more ideologically more explicitly in his purpose. rental we think of as conservative historians or historians are on the right arm method logically that is historians to our praying that
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only say diplomatic and military history. answered rapidly changing target because some people, there are historians who are doing mainstream history who find themselves taken over on the left and the in the profession it is on the left so today's mainstream history is conservative history. in terms of what you get beyond the ideological marxist types bill o'reilly. was an interesting question and interesting distinction rated. >> i saw brief noted night couldn't read it carefully, but the name and the late person was really defensive history and offering that the defense of the traditional subject in
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traditional ways in which historical knowledge and the advance of historical knowledge was pursued. i never considered her, and she was not a radical ideologue of the right, she was a traditionalist predict and if that is different than what we see coming out of authoritarian states. >> thank you and we have a question in the q&a, this dreaded previous work of yours jim rated in recent book, banner edited misconduct he specifically said that in the introduction afraid and you told authors of the essays that they should deliberately lack interpretation and not base their essays on research of other than. [laughter] the presidency in the predict how does this go along with the report of definition pretty. jim: hot because i didn't like those either but they imposed on
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us as i explained one point rated and that i was among them. a group of historians submitted as an inquiry. we were told to write history facts and only act and if you read those essays i am certain that you have and others have also, now the nature of during the partial and you don't characterize any administration just by the misconduct of some of its members. after all, gary truman and ministration for example. there's a lot of unfortunate stuff going on but harry truman had very serious decisions to make did a decent job and you size of his administration differently so those very partial and narrow historiography and unpleasant to
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read related death records. but i would not start a book that way now. but in the revision date of the 1970 report which you and i both involved ourselves, we stock the original mandate so to maintain consistency pretty is not a good history. is a good report. >> all right, claudine has her hand up. please on mute and introduce yourself. >> thank you i am professor and jumped and the narrative and at the university of maryland the global and i have a point that is slightly off left or right history. i've seen part of my life is to share some historical talents and ways of thinking of
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historians and other disciplines and across colony in one of the great gifts seems to me that historians is now quite needed is a challenge claims of fake news. but do historians do. we look at the literature we look at what people say is there evidence in the week critique the evidence. whether they come from and what is the documentation and was there any influence of the perspective, was there a particular plan that so-and-so had rated venice part of the revisionist history but it seems to me that historians have an option or possibility of sharing this gift of this critical analysis and asking questions about the evidence that supports something buried in the make my students that i teach at top management programs and now i
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teach organizational science and others and i put the historical framework as one of the requirements predict that they are writing about something that i want to know and something about the sources. but disciplines, whether the person whether they right, but other perceptions when there are more is there a rational etc. we needed people seem to be historical discipline has a fantastic talent that we need to spread out that instead of just history. jim: you are absolutely right, and i think and we all should follow and learn more from other disciplines the practitioners. and i think, want and don't quite know how to interpret what you said. but if you were pessimistic, you and i disagree. because i think that after a
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long time, along eric, historians are doing much better better job at any time in the knowledge to in the public affairs do so publicly. in the essays in vasoactive television and we now have opportunities that we didn't have before pretty internally 30 years ago, we did not have cspan are there were no history channels and so on. so do think that we have more opportunities to make a contribution the united greek pottery made and think also we're doing a better job of it. i salute this story to do so. i think we should all take hope from what they do. >> thank you rated and here is anna, and you would introduce yourself. >> can you hear me pretty yes pretty ever profess professor at the catholic university in
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washington dc have a simple question. can revisionist history ever be apolitical. if you're questioning the knowledge in your questioning the disciplinary nature of history, you are inviting political backlash from discipline or beyond. i'm reminded of the angry reaction to the work of the publication. trinity can you ever be apolitical in your knowledge production introducing revisionist history without instrumentalization. jim: professor, that is a very good question. i'm going to answer it with a tiny bit of beef brief
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autobiographical this is, my first on the federalist in massachusetts. conservatives of the day that a man of the left. maybe not the far left of the left and i wanted to rescue the federalist on their bad press is a thought that you could not understand the history of the early american nation brought them into the pictures and you brought them into the picture and ways that were recognizable for those of us were doing scholarship scholarship in the field in the 1960s. i guess that some people think of me as a contributor. not a conservative, i was trying to rescue the people who after all had their own life, their own integrity in their own intention and their phone purposes of life in a particular way and i wanted to get them back into the picture and if linda is on, on this summer
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which i believe she is, to understand what i am saying, she did the same thing. nothing will the rights of, yes, i that you can write revisionist history the issue with others need to fill the gaps and you can do so without taking the political stand. you do it for the benefit of increasing and improving and enriching the knowledge. and then your critics, may pigeonhole you, but you have the purpose and that in itself has integrity pretty. >> thank you. now there is a hannah, please introduce yourself. >> time is great to hear from joe and his action. a lot of interesting things here. first quick comment of the
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conservative revisionist. i think one thing that you see is not a conservative response the same playing field is historians but switched to a different playing field afraid i mentioned when the revisionist takes the form up for example, certain reaction to social history the citrate and 60s through double down on economics the right way to interpret social activity predict that is its own weight was rated by switching playing field that type of product. the main thing is the difference between the interpretation. [inaudible]. really interesting issue here is that when people are trying to tinker with interpretation but really about very different understandings of meaningful historical questions and intentions pretty when it comes to that kind of metal i wonder if revisionist history is any
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different from battles that go on in other fields produce revisionist history subset of other revisions, there a lot of battles around science theology and economics in your field of thought. there really battles about establishing emerging system ologies. so i wonder if revisionist is just a bigger sort of human conflict. jim: as always, i'm reporting question. there's not time time left for us to go into that and i think that while i don't think that in some ways we are talking about is subset in a discipline of what goes on elsewhere. when i am trying to do is to bring to attention of
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historians, history in which we are and, involved because of the history of our discipline and or methods kind of evidence that we use and so on. i'm certain there's more to be learned from the kind of arguments that take place in other disciplines. i'm not able to deal with that question. i maybe think that you and i should pursue this matter as some of the time but that is significantly essential question. sarah: if i could maybe add a comment. there was a little bit to the point my question about the revisionist, didn't exist in other fields produce interesting that the term is so rarely apply
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to other fields rated they do of course have that you are saying, the questioner was saying, there if there was a shift. and i think that history is distinctive in that it is the only discipline that produces narratives that govern rated there is nothing quite comparable to get in his public dimension and that may be why this term being singled out and applied to history as opposed to anything else because of that public aspect of it. jim: let me just say this, you're right and i think this makes historians more exposed to attack in the history more exposed to attack and then people in other disciplines which makes it all the more important that we understand the phenomenon and talk about among ourselves and talk about it with our students to try to bring it to the floor and with that i
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would add that we should do a better job of understanding with the nature of historical thought as grade in my case in point is counterfactual and the philosophers have convinced me that it's inherent in all historical thought that we historians semi- fun of it. i think it's a legitimate argument against it will probably using an ourselves all the time without understanding why is inherent in what we do and then there must be other aspects of historical has different system ologies that we do not understand that we do not teach our students and i think that is a loss for assault. >> i unfortunately have to draw this to a close, very sorry to do that we have many people have questions unanswered. and post and an answer to so my apologies to everyone still in that queue owner think so much, james m. banner, jr. and sarah for this horrific discussion pretty can i just ask jim, since
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a special day in any way. jim: well, it is monday after sunday. >> is your birthday pretty. jim: it happens to me. >> thank you in one of the people wrote to us in the chat and sent for the first time that you've been a birthday event. so we wish you the absolute best and want to thank you. >> this week we are looking back to the state history, i've discussed a number of these in congress and every one of them is important. two of them have major concerns. nearly every american family the things about high prices and about housing. my duty as president, requires that i use every means within my power to get to this urgency. and therefore calling this
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congress back into session. on the 26th of july. [inaudible]. [applause] on the 26th day of july, we call this turn of day. [laughter] i'm going to call congress back i'm going to ask them to pass rising prices and to meet the housing crisis within their platform. [cheering]. [cheering]. at the same time, i shall ask upon other needed measures, education. [cheering]. and national health programs. civil rights legislation.
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