The “Columbian Exchange” in reference to the impact of human resource between the Old World and New World.

Prior to the recent field of study, modern historiography has added diversity and explanations to unknown issues. Issues concerning climate change, ecological shifts, market economy’s effects on specie diversity, conflicts between rural and urban communities, soil erosion, and rise of modern environment movement have become a set of pressing subjects in discussion amongst historians (pg. 799). Ted Steinberg discusses these issues in “Down to Earth: Nature, Agency, and Power in History,” regarding environmental history and its contribution to recent fields in history. He discusses how environmental history changes the way historians view the role of agency and power in the past, and how these ways in turn are affected by capitalism (pg. 818).

Steinberg discusses such environmental discussion to William H. Sewell who interprets the relationship between human agency and structure and capitalism’s impact on such study throughout history. Human interaction with environmental changes have developed a string of events that developed a resolution to modern issues similar to discussion and modern movements. Such issues were due to the difference in economy and meaning of survival that have developed to the creation of poor labor forces and adversity of classes. The deliberate action between human and non-human resources have also impacted the climate and environment which have triggered many modern issues today. The demand for non-human resources have created a great demand in human resources and an escalation in a history of modern politics regarding capitalism and communism.

Such ways are deeply beneficial to the common knowledge of historians as well as placing a limit on the comprehensive study of modern history. It is important to know the issues as the environment has become such a pressing issue regarding the new field of climate change and human interaction with the environment. However, such studies are necessary for limits as the need for an emphasis on the importance of judging society from a modern point of view. Such emphasis on the importance of the environment was unknown to people in the past and the world was not ready for progressive ideas as they solely stuck with tradition.

Image: Gambino, Megan. “Alfred W. Crosby on the Columbian” (image). “Columbian Exchange.” North Wind Picture Archives (AP Images). Smithsonian.com. Accessed October 20, 2019. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/alfred-w-crosby-on-the-columbian-exchange-98116477/

Article: Ted Steinberg, “Down to Earth: Nature, Agency, and Power in History,” The American Historical Review 107, no. 3 (June 2002): 798-820. 

Historical fiction is a fictional story based on a historical narrative. Jeff Shaara is an individual who writes historical fiction for a living and has written famous novels, one of which became a major motion picture– Gods and Generals. His theme mostly entails American history and creates a story out of major eras in American history. For example, another one of Shaara notable novels is Rise to Rebellion, the story of America’s Founding Fathers and the revolution in the American colonies. He adds personality and dialogue to historical figures, like General Cornwallis and George Washington, and ad-libs to make the novel intriguing. Though reading his novels, the narrative may not be historically accurate but readers know that these events have happened or have entailed in a similar way. Gene Luene Yang’s Boxers and Saints have similar content to Shaara’s novels because both writers have written books pertaining to historical events, but have fictionalized the event in their own way. Yang wrote a graphic novel about the Boxer Uprising from the Boxers’ point of view. However, Bao was never a real character nor was his father or another other character in the novel. It is purely fiction, but the event itself actually happened.

In evaluating historical fiction, individuals should never believe the work is entirely telling the truth. Historical fiction is based on an actual event, but it is never entirely the true story. The box-office hit, Titanic, is a love story about Jack and Elizabeth. They were not real people nor was their love story true, but their experiences in the event and the event itself were true. The movie correctly depicted the class separation and prejudice of people of different socioeconomic status during this era, included real individuals that were aboard the real Titanic as characters in the movie, and successfully depicted the band of men playing music during the Titanic’s last hours above sea. Gene Luene Yang’s graphic novel includes real events with truthful historical content, depicting the event in the right time and actual place that the uprising occurred. Therefore, in evaluating historical fiction, individuals should note the event truly happened, but characters and other segments in the story are fiction.

Image: Wikipedia contributors, “Boxers and Saints.” Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia. Accessed October 8, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxers_and_Saints

Outlander is one of my favorite Netflix series for its drama and sappy love stories. As I am a confessed history nerd, Scottish history is a topic that I have never researched nor ever paid much attention to. Outlander portrays the decline of the Highlander culture after the Battle of Culloden Moore in April 1746. The massacre of the Highlander clans had a great impact on Scottish culture as English encroachment banned Highlander culture and the Gaelic language. From the influence of the show, as well as the intriguing social construct of the impact of the Battle of Culloden on the Highlander culture, this subject has created a vast variety of works that provide the patriotic history of Scottish culture. Much of the histography of Highlander and Scottish culture have created a theme of patriotism and valor amongst the clans who fought in the Battle of Culloden. One such work is titled “The Graves of the Gallant Highlanders,” written by John R. Gold and Margaret M. Gold, which provides memoirs, interpretations, and narratives of Culloden. It provides an analysis of memory and narratives of the battle, and relives the period of the battle and events that lead to the culture’s demise.

Gold, John R., and Margaret M. Gold. “The Grave of the Gallant Highlanders: Memory, Interpretation, and Narratives of Culloden.” History and Memory 19, no. 1 (2007): 5-38. Accessed September 24, 2019. https://search.proquest.com/docview/195097314/fulltextPDF/F56C96207CC047A1PQ/1?accountid=12299

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The key categories of Citino’s approaches that draws in his review of military history as a field are his historical analysis of “old military history” versus “new military history,” and uses texts and concepts of history and periods to emphasize his analysis. Historians of the medieval and early modern periods focused more on a relationship between war and society, and a “close analysis of operations and battle, weapons and tactics” (1077). This periodization of history broadcast a great range of subjects that distinguishes great similarities between war, politics, and society. This arose the great “military revolution [including] elements of social and political history, the history of technology, and detailed rendering of war and battle” (1079). These determining elements assessed by Citino analyzes the geography and periodization of war history and how these elements influenced such history. “History of memory” is another approach that Citino uses to analyze the field of military as a way for historians and experiencers to convey history by “choosing to remember” and “forget” (1082). This introductory approach to this idea conveys a feeling of how history is told and how people choose to personify history.

In Citino’s discussion, I found intriguing was the emergence of the “Greatest generation” literature introducing social issues like race and gender, and the placement of the Holocaust as the main focus for historians regarding the great European conflict in the Second World War(1074). He puts a great focus on related themes of “barbarization” and “demodernization” of warfare and racial cleansing in the East (1075). This discussion was so intriguing to me as I am a large advocate for World War Two history and the European conflict. German history prior to the emergence did not focus on the conflict of the Holocaust and instead focused on the army’s accomplishments and “clean hands” of history (1075). However this newfound emergence has swept the market and uprooted the vast issue of the wrongdoings by the Nazi regime. This is an issue that I am most thrilled about for the stories of the survivors and heroes of this horrible conflict can be told.

Citation:

Robert M. Citino, “Military Histories Old and New: A Reintroduction,” American Historical Review (October 2007): 1070-1090.

Standards for quality academic and professional history are based on its reliability of peer-reviews and expert sources in the pertinent field of the particular history. These sources are dependent on experts of the particular field and serve to keep readers and others alike up to date on most recent research, findings, and news. Academic and professional history is much different from popular history for reasons that attempt to omit bias and inclusion of facts. Even though ALL history has a bias, academic history is consecutive with expert sources, and undergoes a succession of peer-reviews and even review boards before being published. There is a large difference between academic history and popular history. Popular history tends to be a broad, ill-defined genre with a popular approach or bias. Many journalists refer to this degree of history. Scholarly and academic history refer to footnotes, cited sources, and even the preface of the text. The most reliable sources cite academic institutions, scholarly or professional organizations.

Why do these standards matter?

Understanding the past can help to understand the present. These standards matter because reliable sources will allow historians to understand the near truth. It will allow historians to have sufficient competency to make truthful assertions of the past, and in turn will be reliable sources to continue telling the history for years to come.