IntroductionKey questions for the discussion today are:
What is the relationship between the terms in the lesson title? Why do the differences matter?
What is history?Historians usually make a distinction between history and the past. If history isn't the past, then what is it exactly? I've provided an answer before in class ("inquiry into sources from and about the past"). My answer is very similar to the one provided in the video in the link below.
Optional: Watch the video (first 2 of 10 segments). It's from an American point of view, so it might be helpful to know that AP History refers to the high school course that prepares students for the Advanced Placed Test in History, a pre-university exam that many US students take.
- LINK TO VIDEO (Flash might be required!): http://historicalthinkingmatters.org/why.html
Question for you do discuss:
- Do most people think about history simply as the past, or do most people think about history as questions about sources from the past? How would you answer this question, based on your time in school, and your discussions over the years with friends, family, and others? The answer we have might influence the way we think of the relationship between history and heritage.
History / heritageHistory and heritage both involve attitudes to the past. Questions to discuss:
- What is the difference between history and heritage? And why does the difference matter?
- Says who? (This last question is an important one in all good historical research, because when you're clear about who says what, you are paying careful attention to perspective. Without proper awareness of different perspectives, historians cannot make sense of evidence from the past, nor their own attitudes toward that evidence.)
Tom Morton, "History and Heritage: What's the Difference?" Canadian Issues/Thèmes canadiens (Fall 2014), 12-17.
History and heritage in St. Catharines, Niagara, and beyondRead:
Monique Beech, "Decaying Statue Stirs Debate," St. Catharines Standard, Nov. 16, 2009.
Questions for discussion:
- Based on what you've learned about history and heritage so far, what are your initial reactions to the debate (or non-debate) about the statue of "Private Watson" on the lawn of City Hall in St. Catharines, or other important issues related to history and heritage?
- How should historians (and history students) respond to public issues such as these?
History / memoryQuestions for discussion:
- What is the difference between history and memory?
- How can historians study memory? Isn't this a really impossible task, because memory is inside people's heads?
- How does Jonathan Vance propose to study World War One and memory?
A portion of the back cover of one edition of Philip Child, God's Sparrows (1937) looks like this:
There are no meetings in the Special Collections this coming Friday (tomorrow) and Monday. However, everyone can use the time on Friday to work on the primary source analysis assignment. We meet again next Thursday in PL 309 at 1 pm.
Supplemental reading / listeningI may assign some more materials about history / memory / heritage for future discussions. Among the possible sources are the following. For now they are recommended but not required listening / reading.
"The Monuments," Museum Chat Live! A podcast series from the St. Catharines Museum, episode 202, Oct. 4, 2017.