“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”
“The historical dimension in every object, person, and occurrence provokes our questions and provides an important part of our understanding”
If I can say that I learned anything this semester I would say that I learned that historiography goes beyond the Civil War. But the Civil War is still a very relatable example for most things!! Also, having to accept that the sole female in the class makes mistakes in regard to assuming the gender of authors. That slip up will probably live with me for the rest of my life.
For most of the semester I have live in a cloud of self-confidence when it came to writing this thesis paper. I have felt that from my combined previous experience and from what I have learned this semester that I could pull out a senior thesis. I did not give any hesitation to this fact. But, honestly after reading the Yale Guide I became nervous when it comes to the paper. This guide should have had the reverse effect. While it spells out everything you should do it gives great advice on how to efficiently do your thesis and make it a wonderful rewarding experience. My major worry when looking at my topic and next year is my thesis. I worry that I have a good subject and a really great resource of primary sources but that I will not be able to translate the information into a significant argument about or against the War Commission. I would like to talk about veteran’s choices versus the War Commission choices. But I am worried that this is not going to be enough of an argument. Before I had a bunch of good arguments but not one strong one. Hopefully through significant research into the subject I can develop a strong central argument.
“History making and history made are scientifically inseparable and separately unmeaning.”
This semester I have completely reformed my idea of how you develop a competent thesis. I feel that everything I have done before now was not properly done. From learning from nineteenth century scholars such as Carl Becker and Lord Acton; Even more importantly Wilhelm Von Humboldt and Leopold Von Ranke. The professionalization of the academic historical field created a guild and a set of steps to get into that field. This process of professionalization has set up the idea that every conclusion is contingent on evidentiary practice. Also learning about the important shift from great man history to history done from below. The impact of historical Marxism on this. Learning that structures are not the patterned social practices that make up social systems, but the principles that pattern these practices. A historian cannot use ethnocentrism when they are deconstructing a society. Just as language is not transparent, neither is society. Everything must be taken in it’s own context. Learning the methods of how to read primary sources was incredibly important also. Before this semester I always though you just read primary sources without any kind of method. But using your primary sources as proper evidence to a well backed up argument will make my paper stronger. I think our argument about context was very helpful to me. The time period, the structures, the author’s position, and the intended audience are all important.
Another important aspect is learning the object of the research and the subject of the argument. Discovering the difference between these two helped me and will help me to make a paper that has a reason. A paper that is not just information but a well structured argument.
TIll next week,