Lectures 10 and 11

Unfortunatly I couldn’t attend the replacement lecture on Monday, as I had archaeology group work scheduled in for the same time. However, I found the powerpoints on blackboard quite useful: the bibliography is something I (think) I’ve come to grips with, though it was where I think I lost most marks on the first essay. As I’ve not yet got my second one back, I can’t tell that I’ve improved, but I hope I have. I certainly tried to.

Interpretation and critical thinking are (in my opinion) the most important thing about studying history, and trying to convince people of this is harder than it sounds. After all, most of it is conjecture from what we already know, which is why I take great pleasure in being able to disagree with an “authority” on the subject. Sometimes it’s nice to know that you can reach a different conclusion from the same evidence; it’s part of what makes history alive. If there was only one “correct” interpretation we’d be repeating each other forever, or at least until we decided to give up, go home and study physics or something.

Lecture 11 was critiquing the critical reviews from last year’s students. This was directly helpful, in that I previously was a little unclear on what to put in, and afterwards I wrote my review on the train home (a four hour journey; ample time). It was also indirectly helpful; the skills we use to pick apart their essays can easily be applied to any “proper” historian’s argument, often with similar effectiveness. It was, if anything, a way of practicing this critcal thinking we’d covered the previous lecture.

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