Ok, friends, I was just zooming through some chapters the past two days. I wanted to post, but my mom was using my homework to do her accounting homework (going to college to get more knowledge)!
Anywho, I read chapters 4, 5, and 6 of Sam Wineburg’s Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts.
Chapter 4 was a big case study on Lincoln’s comments on slavery and race. It demonstrated the need to understand context and to realize that knowing the context of a source is very important in understanding its importance or what role it played during the time it was made. I can’t lie, I wasn’t very fond of this chapter, it was kind of a dry read, but the message it gave is very important.
Chapter 5 talks about the way that culture has conditioned us to think about the past. Page 113 asks the reader to conjure up thoughts of pilgrims and the settlers, and how we all likely create a similar image in our mind. Furthermore, in regards to who we think of. On average, young boys seem to imagine a world that is almost void of women. Many of the images they drew were of males in history, very few of them drew women in addition to the men. Women, on the other hand, drew pictures that were also male dominated, but they did have some more women, though in the “traditional” roles that textbooks have portrayed about gender roles.
In Chapter 6, talks about the purpose of facts in history. Honestly, I think that if I go into too much detail on this chapter, I will just be beating a dead horse, because I think I have talked about this topic plenty of times. The big thing though is that it talks about how for historians, facts frame the narrative, but there are plenty of debates on interpretations on what those facts mean.
They were pretty easy chapters to get through. This book is really prompting me to think about how I can portray what history really is to a class. How can I demonstrate the complexity of causation? How do I teach my students to see the past on its own terms? Questions that this book, and I am sure experience will answer.