CHY 4U: Historical Schools

Due to some network issues, our attempts to share our findings about historical schools was not very successful. Thus, I thought I’d give you a brief overview of the schools for a quick and easy reference:

 Great Man Theory  An approach to history most concerned with those who shape their times. A great man is someone who makes events happen, creating opportunity and finding success when “lesser men” would fail. While the term “great” isn’t intended to be a moral judgement–hence Hitler’s inclusion on the list–the bias in this approach is clear: it favours the study of history’s giants above all else, including the millions under those giants’ influence. Alexander the Great
Adolf Hitler
Great Forces Theory  I like to think of this as the antithesis of the Great Man Theory. While the Great Man Theory is concerned with “one” (a leader, a general), the Great Forces Theory is concerned with those things that are difficult to quantify. Great forces may include diseases, changing weather patterns, and even ideas. The Black Plague
Hurricane Katrina
The values of the Englihtenment
Hegelian Dialectic  Hegel argued that history is the continual clashing of opposing forces. As the forces clash, something new is created; this “new” thing is confronted by another force, and the process repeats.Thesis vs. Antithesis = synthesis the Reformation
World War II
The Quiet Revolution
NOTE: The Schools Below Tend to Go Against Traditional Historical Interpretations
 Radical School  Simply put, the members of the Radical School tend to question traditional interpretations because history has been written by the “winners”; thus, these traditional interpretations cannot always be trusted.Think of it this way: how would the events of World War II, including the Holocaust, be remembered if the Nazis had been victorious?  The death of Cleopatra
Marxism  Karl Marx accepted Hegel’s assertion that history is a series of ongoing conflicts. However, Marx argued that, at their roots, all of these conflicts have been about class. According to Marx, history is a long series of class struggles between the rich and the poor, those with power and those without.  The Industrial Revolution
The French Revolution
 Post-Modernism  Modernists believed in the objectivity of science and in the progress of man; truth was knowable, and humanity was getting closer and closer to its discovery. Political history, social history, and even the Great Man Theory could lead to the truth. Post-Modernists (Post in the sense that the came after Modernists) reject these ideas. Post-Modernists are uncomfortable with the very notions of truth and objectivity; a Post-Modern historian would dismiss the idea of “man’s inevitable progress” because of the value judgement at its core.Post-Modern historians attempt to reach  accurate understanding of the past by including a wide array of “voices” in their work.  The Quiet Revolution  (including the perspective of English-Canadian, French-Canadians, Aboriginal Canadians, and Immigrants)

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