Historians write in the context of their own time, and with due regard to the current dominant ideas of how to interpret the past, and sometimes write to provide lessons for their own society. In the words of Benedetto Croce, "All history is contemporary history". History is facilitated by the formation of a 'true discourse of past' through the production of narrative and analysis of past events relating to the human race. The modern discipline of history is dedicated to the institutional production of this discourse.
All events that are remembered and preserved in some authentic form constitute the historical record. The task of historical discourse is to identify the sources which can most usefully contribute to the production of accurate accounts of past. Therefore, the constitution of the historian's archive is a result of circumscribing a more general archive by invalidating the usage of certain texts and documents (by falsifying their claims to represent the 'true past').
The study of history has sometimes been classified as part of the humanities and at other times as part of the social sciences. It can also be seen as a bridge between those two broad areas, incorporating methodologies from both. Some individual historians strongly support one or the other classification. In the 20th century, French historian Fernand Braudel revolutionized the study of history, by using such outside disciplines as economics, anthropology, and geography in the study of global history.
Traditionally, historians have recorded events of the past, either in writing or by passing on an oral tradition, and have attempted to answer historical questions through the study of written documents and oral accounts. For the beginning, historians have also used such sources as monuments, inscriptions, and pictures. In general, the sources of historical knowledge can be separated into three categories: what is written, what is said, and what is physically preserved, and historians often consult all three. But writing is the marker that separates history from what comes before.
Archaeology is a discipline that is especially helpful in dealing with buried sites and objects, which, once unearthed, contribute to the study of history. But archaeology rarely stands alone. It uses narrative sources to complement its discoveries. However, archaeology is constituted by a range of methodologies and approaches which are independent from history; that is to say, archaeology does not "fill the gaps" within textual sources. Indeed, Historical Archaeology is a specific branch of archaeology, often contrasting its conclusions against those of contemporary textual sources. For example, Mark Leone, the excavator and interpreter of historical Annapolis, Maryland, USA has sought to understand the contradiction between textual documents and the material record, demonstrating the possession of slaves and the inequalities of wealth apparent via the study of the total historical environment, despite the ideology of "liberty" inherent in written documents at this time.
There are varieties of ways in which history can be organized, including chronologically, culturally, territorially, and thematically. These divisions are not mutually exclusive, and significant overlaps are often present, as in "The International Women's Movement in an Age of Transition, 1830–1975." It is possible for historians to concern themselves with both the very specific and the very general, although the modern trend has been toward specialization. The area called Big History resists this specialization, and searches for universal patterns or trends. History has often been studied with some practical or theoretical aim, but also may be studied out of simple intellectual curiosity.
Read more about this topic: History
Other articles related to "description, descriptions":
... creating a dominant impression, using descriptive language, and organizing the description are the rhetorical choices to be considered when using a description ... A description is usually arranged spatially but can also be chronological or emphatic ... The focus of a description is the scene ...
... Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI, pronounced Yu-diː) is a platform-independent, Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based registry by which ... to be interrogated by SOAP messages and to provide access to Web Services Description Language (WSDL) documents describing the protocol bindings and message formats required to interact with the web services ...
... Whether this is a description of ventricular fibrillation is debatable ... The next recorded description occurs 3000 years later and is recorded by Vesalius, who described the appearance of "worm-like" movements of the heart in animals prior to death ... The significance and clinical importance of these observations and descriptions possibly of ventricular fibrillation were not recognised until John Erichsen in 1842 described ventricular fibrillation ...
... He gives a vivid and accurate description of the last colony of the European Beaver in Wales on the River Teifi, but spoils it by repeating the legend that beavers ... Likewise he gives a good description of an Osprey fishing, but adds the mythical detail that the bird has one webbed foot ... His description of Irish wildlife was harshly called "worthless" the better view perhaps is that despite its faults it gives a valuable glimpse of Irish fauna in the 1180s ...
... Unlike the keywords attribute, the description attribute is supported by most major search engines, like Yahoo! and Bing, while Google will fall back on ... The description attribute provides a concise explanation of a Web page's content ... the Web page authors to give a more meaningful description for listings than might be displayed if the search engine was unable to automatically create its ...
Famous quotes containing the word description:
“To give an accurate description of what has never occurred is not merely the proper occupation of the historian, but the inalienable privilege of any man of parts and culture.”
—Oscar Wilde (18541900)
“God damnit, why must all those journalists be such sticklers for detail? Why, theyd hold you to an accurate description of the first time you ever made love, expecting you to remember the color of the room and the shape of the windows.”
—Lyndon Baines Johnson (19081973)
“The next Augustan age will dawn on the other side of the Atlantic. There will, perhaps, be a Thucydides at Boston, a Xenophon at New York, and, in time, a Virgil at Mexico, and a Newton at Peru. At last, some curious traveller from Lima will visit England and give a description of the ruins of St Pauls, like the editions of Balbec and Palmyra.”
—Horace Walpole (17171797)