Why we need a New Term for "Revisionist Historians"

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#2
The problem that the YouTube creator doesn't seem recognize is that many of the so-called "revisionist" historians do have an agenda, and in many cases it is not very hidden.

There is nothing wrong with re-assessing history. But it becomes an issue if you re-assessing derives from a desire to promote a political agenda. Even if they do have agenda, that does not mean these historians revisions are incorrect, only that what they say needs greater scrutiny.

Perhaps a term of historical reassessing, "re-assessed" history would be a more neutral and less pejorative term.
 
Aug 2010
15,214
Welsh Marches
#3
History is not revised, historical views and judgements are revised. The term 'revisionist' is used in a specific sense when applied to historians, I don't think that anyone would be daft enough to concude from the use of the word that historical judgements should not be subject to revision! This is rather like complaining about the word anti-Semitic on the ground that Jews are not the only Semites; that is true enough, but everyone knows what anti-Semitic is intended to mean.
 
Aug 2015
2,359
uk
#4
What we know - or think we know - about historical events, the reason for them occurring and the impact they have had, is constantly evolving.

The problem that can sometimes happen is that someone will come up with a conjecture or theory, and then pick the facts that back their hypothesis, whilsr conveniently ignoring facts that run contrary.

Sometimes 2+2 DOES equal 4 , and we don't have to try to come up with alternatives that suggest it equals 5. But then again tv producers have to have audiences, authors have to sell books and Youtubers have to get hits - and the people have to be entertained, which isn't likely to happen if the same old facts and theories are wheeled out time after time.

Of course the old adage is true that you listen to other's opinions, read from different sources and make ypur OWN mind up.
 

Pedro

Forum Staff
Mar 2008
17,151
On a mountain top in Costa Rica. yeah...I win!!
#5
History is not revised, historical views and judgements are revised. The term 'revisionist' is used in a specific sense when applied to historians, I don't think that anyone would be daft enough to concude from the use of the word that historical judgements should not be subject to revision! This is rather like complaining about the word anti-Semitic on the ground that Jews are not the only Semites; that is true enough, but everyone knows what anti-Semitic is intended to mean.
I agree.
 
Aug 2018
154
Southern Indiana
#6
Shouldn't every good historian be a "revisionist historian" if we are talking about accepting newly discovered facts?
But it seems the term if often applied to what might be called "speculative historians" if that's not a oxymoron.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#7
Shouldn't every good historian be a "revisionist historian" if we are talking about accepting newly discovered facts?
But it seems the term if often applied to what might be called "speculative historians" if that's not a oxymoron.
The term "revisionist historian" has come to mean someone who radically revises history for political correct reasons, and not because of the facts. Or at least , that is what the those who use the term intend it to mean.

So someone who revises hisory by showing that the medieval Europeans really didn't believe in an flat Earth is not considered a revisionist history, since there usually isn't a political agenda in promoting such revision. Or historians challenging the early view of the Dark Ages is also not considered as revisionist history.

But black historians that claim that Cleopatra was black, and that the Greeks got all their knowledge from Africans might be considered revisionist history, if their motivation is more to promote black pride than historical accuracy. Some historians do have an agenda where historical accuracy isn't the reason for the revision to history. Of course, even if they do have a particular political agenda doesn't mean their revisions are not correct, but it does make them more suspect.