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Old January 1st, 2017, 09:25 PM   #1

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Historical revisionisms?


The common saying is "history is written by victors", but what if the former victors were overthrown and the new victors come in?
Previous, native people of various places were illiterate; today, with their own historians, history can be reinterpreted or rewritten.
Seriously, native people in North America are not victors, but they get more recognition than previously.
"Review everything" is dangerous in history, but should historical records subject to scrutiny?
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Old January 2nd, 2017, 02:06 AM   #2

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they should, always.

In my understanding, there is good and bad revisionism.

Good is questioning the veracity or reliability of a source. Even if it's for a "good" purpose. If a former slave wrote a narrative on his or her life as a slave, then we need to corroborate this with other evidence.

Bad revionism imho is not changing things out of good practice or integrity, but for ideological purposes, or because it supports an agenda. It's like the Romans saying that Carthage had baby sacrifice. If it were true, the Romans themselves even in the Republican period were not angels, and they had no real proof that this did happen. A common example of this is Holocaust denial.
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Old January 2nd, 2017, 03:03 AM   #3

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Originally Posted by VHS View Post
"Review everything" is dangerous in history, but should historical records subject to scrutiny?
Why is it dangerous?
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Old January 2nd, 2017, 05:27 AM   #4

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"Review everything" is dangerous in history, but should historical records subject to scrutiny?
The entire academic discipline of history and historiography is all about analysing and reviewing past historical events.
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Old January 2nd, 2017, 05:45 AM   #5

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The entire academic discipline of history and historiography is all about analysing and reviewing past historical events.
Agreed. Revisionism has been much maligned since Professor David Irving published his nonsense denying the holocaust. A fine example of historical revisionism at its best is the painstaking research that proved the Medieval English household was comprised mainly of the nuclear rather than the extended family. Revisionism is not dangerous of itself, but unfortunately a small number of agenda driven historians are.
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Old January 2nd, 2017, 05:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
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"Review everything" is dangerous in history, but should historical records subject to scrutiny?
Of course. Historical records can contain mistakes, contradict themselves or other sources, will always contain some bias. The authors were humans after all, they were just as prone to making mistakes, misinterpreting information or adding bias to their writing/research as we are.

Look at Nihon Shoki, it is a chronicle written in 7th century, but its contents were very heavily manipulated to boost the prestige of the ruling dynasty.

Or for example compare Book of Song with Book of Wei, chronicles of two states contesting for domination in China. Both paint a very different picture of what entialed in the era and portray the advisor in the worst light possible.

Historians have to look critically at all sources present. It's not a possiblity, but a must.

Last edited by Vaderfan; January 2nd, 2017 at 05:50 AM.
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Old January 2nd, 2017, 05:54 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by notgivenaway View Post
they should, always.

In my understanding, there is good and bad revisionism.

Good is questioning the veracity or reliability of a source. Even if it's for a "good" purpose. If a former slave wrote a narrative on his or her life as a slave, then we need to corroborate this with other evidence.

Bad revionism imho is not changing things out of good practice or integrity, but for ideological purposes, or because it supports an agenda. It's like the Romans saying that Carthage had baby sacrifice. If it were true, the Romans themselves even in the Republican period were not angels, and they had no real proof that this did happen. A common example of this is Holocaust denial.
There is also revisionism that take facts out of context. Anti-Lincoln books are a glaring example. The facts may be correct but are cherry picked out of context giving a very distorted version of the truth.
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Old January 2nd, 2017, 06:04 AM   #8

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Revisionism doesn't only entail changing of facts directly, it also involves bringing new information to the table that challenges the until-then idea of something. A lot of this occurred in the 90s, for example, in communist countries of the eastern block as well as Yugoslavia.

In Yugoslavia for the longest time it was considered the Partisans were the ultimate good while everyone else was the bad guy. People were being taught this way in schools. Then, when the wars of the 90s destroyed the country each of the states started revising the history, but still with a hint of propaganda towards their side. Serbs are now more apologetic towards the Chetnik movement while Croats are towards the Ustaše, etc. The only new thing that all ex-Yu countries agree on is that the Partisans committed all sorts of crimes just as well and were far from the image the communist regime under Tito built over several decades.

I'm positive similar things have happened in the countries of the old Warsaw pact, as well.
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Old January 2nd, 2017, 06:38 AM   #9

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The common saying is "history is written by victors", but what if the former victors were overthrown and the new victors come in?
I think Tokugawa Ieyasu would be a good example of this. After the Meji revolution he's often cast in a more negative line. More often then not fiction settles on Ieyasu being the villain that Yukimura or Mitsunari oppose.
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Old January 2nd, 2017, 09:49 AM   #10
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I believe that there will be a lot more revisionism as African and Asian countries get more educated and start rewrtiting their own histories. Most will be of nationalistic junk nevertheless it will hopefully be not too bad.
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