Saturday, October 30, 2010

Being Honest with our Biases...

I had some issues with the Knight reading this week, especially with his discussion on the History field on pg. 110. When he stated that changes in literature happen because of changes in ways of thinking and not new information becoming available, I have to disagree. Personally, I believe that new ways of thinking and new resources work hand in hand. If we were never to find new sources then academics would continue to hash out the same problems in different words. It is because of new resources that become available, such as the opening of some Eastern European archives, that new ways of thinking are brought forth. They do not simply materialize from nothing.

I do understand what Knight was talking about when he was saying that modern scholars look at historical events, etc. through tainted modern discourses and might not take into consideration the lens through which they gaze at the past. However, I think this goes back to our discussion in class last week on knowing our biases when doing ethnographic research. I think the same needs to be done with historical research. As long as a researcher is upfront about their biases, then I can not see why new ways of thinking and research can stem from new resources.

In keeping with the title of this blog, I am a trained historian. Some of my animosity behind Knight's viewpoint may be because I take offensive to the implications. However, I still strongly believe that without new resources becoming available new ways of thinking would not come about and vice versa. To me they are interconnected and can not be viewed as separate and opposite entities as Knight does.

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