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Narrative and History

  1. The narration of the past is what will turn the past into history. In Munslow's analysis, the term history means that the past has been narrated and constructed by a historian who has some type of inherent bias. Munslow, a postmodernist through and through, illustrates that the language we use is flawed, as well as the way we construct that language. A historian can create a completely different story depending on how the fashion the narrative (Munslow, pg. 9).
  2. Munslow, following along with his theme of the difference between the past and history, also talks about the morality of history. Munslow cites Southgate when she says that “history is unavoidably an ethical activity” (pg. 40). Discussing the ethical implications of history is incredibly important but also dangerous territory, as judging the past on present morale standards can create very biased opinions.
  3. Munslow discusses the use of sources and the problematic nature that surround them. Reconstructionists believe that sources can never truly illustrate the truth of the past, and they can easily be misconstrued. Constructionists believe that even if the content of the sources is not completely true, the general trends and patterns that can been seen within them are valuable to historians. This is confusing and I am not sure I understand it all, as it seems like we are veering too far into nihilism.


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