Posted by: constantinakatsari | February 3, 2010

Subjective view of History

For the first time in my life I ‘googled’ myself. Out of three pages of the returning search four were about me. I am very dubious about the whole ‘social media’ thing. To me the internet is a place of enlightenment and fun, not a place to make a profile of yourself. Like most students on facebook I have some pretty terrible photos online, but that’s not a true reflection of me. I’ve never taken a photo of me working in the library or writing an essay. If an employer wishes to spend their time delving into what could or could not be me on the internet, instead of calling me for an interview or offering me a day’s experience to see how I perform, is a very odd employer in my eyes. Life is split into work and play and (really really really sorry for this horrid cliché) I work hard and play hard!

As for the module, I think it’s going to be interesting. Reading the other posts here I was interested to see what David said about none of us being black. I had a very similar thought. I think that will definitely shape the way we look at slavery, and probably our discussions. But the same could be said for any subject. I think all experiences in life, academic or other, will help us define our own personal picture of what it was like back then.  As a subject, ancient history is predominantly white, often male and usually attracts people from a good economic background. The same argument of no descendants of slaves in this module could be used to say the majority of classicists look at issues through a similar lense. It’s just the way history works. In my opinion this is the best part of history: there is no right answer, and no two discussions will be the same. Our opinions could all be different due to our background be us slave descendants or not.

I think the situation we are in, as students of a university in a class of no more than 25/30 where none of us have a public persona which can be damaged, means that we can look at the subject feeling as disconnected as possible. We can form ideas which may seem strange or abstract and voice them openly. Some people outside an academic situation are very sensitive about such a subject (e.g. descendants of slaves). Due to the nature of the subject, the people who publicly write on it or talk about it may feel restricted, thus effecting our sources, both primary and secondary. This wouldn’t be a personal restriction, but one inflicted by society, so I think that this is something that is quite important when reading about the subject.

Alex Everden

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Responses

  1. I’m not sure I agree that Ancient History is a subject mainly pursued by men: not any more. Over the last 30 years women have taken at least an equal, if not a superior, position in the field in relation to men. The books on our reading lists are as likely to be by women as they are by men, and I’m fairly sure that the students in every lecture I’ve been in here have been mostly female.

    Having said that, I do agree that the subject is still very ‘white’, and that we could do more to engage with people from different ethnic backgrounds.


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