Why History is Important TodayRoundup
tags: education, STEM, History Profession, Trump
Luis Martínez-Fernández is a professor of history at the University of Central Florida.
We live in Orwellian times. Truth is fake and fake is truth. Good is bad and bad is good. Fact is fiction and fiction is fact; and as in George Orwell’s dystopian classic 1984, “ignorance is strength.” Yes, strength for those who insist on keeping the masses ignorant. This is when historians must step in.
We also live in times when history, as well as the arts and humanities, are increasingly neglected in schools and universities, sacrificed at the altar of the gods of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
This is largely based on incorrect assumptions about its lack of practical application and the belief that the study of history sheds light exclusively on the past. That is simply not true. The training and practice of history provide a long-term (telescopic) perspective, sensitivity toward the interconnectedness of human actions and reactions, and intuitiveness that helps understand the present and even anticipate future outcomes.
That said, us historians are generally shy about forecasting anything. We are trained to avoid it, partly because we focus on the past and write about events and realities from decades if not centuries ago. We are even dissuaded from fantasizing about counterfactuals, what-ifs such as what would have happened if Caesar had not crossed the river Rubicon or Richard Nixon had won the White House in 1964?
comments powered by Disqus
- Trump administration says joint UNC, Duke Middle East Studies program portrays Islam too positively
- What White Kids Learn About Race in School
- Frederick Douglass photos smashed stereotypes. Could Elizabeth Warren selfies do the same?
- Chronicling New York’s Muslim History
- New Documents Illuminate The University of Texas’s Secret Strategy to Keep Out Black Students
- Women Scientists Were Written Out of History. It’s Margaret Rossiter’s Lifelong Mission to Fix That
- Allen C. Guelzo Reviews Sidney Blumenthal's Latest Installment of His Biography of Lincoln
- What Reconstruction-Era Laws Can Teach Our Democracy: The NY Times Reviews Eric Foner's Latest Book
- Should historians read their own book?
- Cokie Roberts, Pioneering Journalist Who Helped Shape NPR, Dies At 75