An analysis of the topic of the historians and the colonial experience

With numerous conflicting narratives regarding Muhammad and his companions from various sources, it was necessary to verify which sources were more reliable. In order to evaluate these sources, various methodologies were developed, such as the " science of biography ", " science of hadith " and " Isnad " chain of transmission.

An analysis of the topic of the historians and the colonial experience

It will not be used to refer to the past as such. Historiography is different from the collection of historical evidence, the editing of historical sources, the exercise of historical thought and imagination, the criticism of historical writing, and the philosophy of history, but it is related to all of them and overlaps some of them.

It is also different from the history of history writing. It will not be used in that sense here. Although many historians have said wise and witty things about the writing of history, none has focused more than intermittent attention on the problems it raises.

To test this implied judgment—which is very hard to reconcile with the care and pains which many of the best historians lavish on their own history writing—this article will attempt an analysis of historiography. The models of history writing that will be dealt with will be those provided in recent times by the better historians in their better moments.

It is the practice of these historians when actually writing history, not their explicit theoretical or quasi-philosophical views, that is of concern here; for it is in their practice of historiography rather than in peripheral excursions into the problems of methodology that they reveal their effective commitments.

Although much that follows will apply to all historiography, the article is only incidentally concerned with historical writings intended to codify knowledge of history already available, such as textbooks; primarily it is focused on history writing aimed at extending the bounds of historical knowledge.

Finally, as an overarching principle this article will seek to relate the rhetoric of history to the rhetoric of the mathematizing natural sciences, taking physics and chemistry as models, in order to make clear the similarities of historiography to these other ways in which men seek to communicate what they think they know, and its differences from them.

An analysis of the topic of the historians and the colonial experience

The language of historians The most cursory comparison of any professional journal of history with an issue of the Physical Review will carry the conviction that the rhetoric of history differs grossly from that of physics.

Ideally the vocabulary of physics is exact and denotative, and its syntax is mathematical, expressing quantitative relations between entities defined with the minimum ambiguity possible, given the current state of knowledge of the science.

Moreover, historians often use quantitative data: Thus, they occasionally mathematize, they often quantify and enumerate, and part of their vocabulary is wholly denotative.

When operating in a sector of history writing where they deem rhetorical devices of this sort alone to be appropriate, they assimilate the form of their vocabulary very closely to that of the natural sciences and exercise a like care to decontaminate it of connotative and evocative overtones.

Yet very few historians consistently write history this way, and scarcely any of that very few would insist that all history ought to aim at the rhetoric of the natural sciences as an ideal goal; they do not seek to make the rhetorical form which they find convenient into a prescriptive rule for the entire profession, as they would be obligated to do if they thought that only with such a rhetoric could one come close to an account of things past that approaches maximum verisimilitude.

In this respect historians differ notably from many social scientists.


Both historians and social scientists acknowledge that the form of their rhetoric is not always coincident with that of the natural sciences. But since most social scientists take the rhetoric of the natural sciences as their goal and ideal, they make a major intellectual effort to assimilate their way of writing to that of the natural sciences.

In this matter they regard any nonconformity on their part as a deformity, to be either overcome or lamented. In practice, historians rarely see historiographic problems in this light. Far from always seeking the forms of language which will enable them to make historiography into the closest possible replica of the language of the natural sciences, they choose —often unself-consciously, but sometimes well aware of what they are doing—to write in a way that the rhetoric of the sciences forecloses.

They deliberately choose a word or a phrase that is imprecise and may turn out to be ambiguous, because of its rich aura of connotation. Without compunction they sacrifice exactness for evocative force.


Since the only common purpose to which historians are bound by their calling to commit themselves is to advance understanding of the past, the only possible justification for such a sacrifice is that it serves to increase knowledge of the past, that sometimes an evocative rhetoric is the best means a historian has for formulating and communicating what he knows.

Whether or not the historians who in practice follow this rhetorical strategy are fully aware of it, the implication of this strategy is very radical. It entails the claim that historians can produce cumulative increments of knowledge without consistent resort to the rhetoric which scientists have found indispensable for formulating and communicating what they know.

Positively it implies that for communicating what the historian knows, a rhetoric more like that employed in the fictive arts than like that employed in the sciences is not only permissible but on occasion indispensable.

Knowing and communicating To analyze historiography, we must first determine its place in the general process of knowing and communicating.Analysis of Slavery. Uploaded by Chad Whitehead.

Since understanding slavery is intrinsic to understanding the American experience, historians must recognize that many different peoples were ensnared in the slave trade and that in the Southeast, slavery's beginnings were not an exclusively black phenomenon.

Sweet argues thatlberian. Reinterpreting New England Indians and the Colonial Experience (review) Gary Coleman Cheek The American Indian Quarterly, Volume 29, Number 3&4, Summer/Fall , urbanagricultureinitiative.comrpreting New England Indians and the Colonial The Colonial Society of Massachusetts, historians that participated in the Colonial .

The role of a historian is to investigate and translate past events to uncover present day insights and meanings. Given that both individually and societally we tend to learn from past successes and mistakes, it is quite evident the value that historians have provided society throughout American history.

The general analysis of historiography deals with those traits and devices of historical rhetoric which are unique to the writing of history, or, more frequently, with those traits and devices which historians use in a unique way, a way which differentiates them from their use in the sciences or in the Active arts.

- The Genesis of a Backcountry Identity In the North American English[1] colonial experience and in the subsequent post- revolutionary American Republic, the ability to assimilate either individually or collectively into the hierarchy of power represented a continually evolving process.

Where do historians believe the first settlers in North America came from and how did many lessons can be learned about what it would take to have a successful colonial experience.

The South was settled for primarily economic (rather than religious) reasons and be viewed as an important major topic or category of analysis in early.

Historiography - Wikipedia