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Is it possible to approach history from an objective point of view? 

Created: 07/15/11

Replies: 9

Posted Jul. 15, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
admin

Join Date: 10/11/10

Posts: 369

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Is it possible to approach history from an objective point of view? 

On page 276 Deborah says: "Like I'm always telling my brothers, if you gonna go into history, you can't do it with a hate attitude. You got to remember, times was different." Is it possible to approach history from an objective point of view? If so, how and why is this important, especially in the context of Henrietta's story?


Posted Jul. 16, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
marthad

Join Date: 05/10/11

Posts: 25

RE: Is it possible to approach history from an objective point of view? 

I think most authors/journalist take an objective point of view. And putting things in the context of the time period is a must. It's hard to be too critical when the attitudes where different. We need to understand the time to see both sides of the story.


Posted Jul. 16, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
laurieb

Join Date: 07/16/11

Posts: 15

RE: Is it possible to approach history from an objective point of view? 

True objectivity in history is probably an oxymoron because, although history is created through reporting of events, that reporting is done by people who necessarily view things through the prism of their own values, experiences and biases, and portray what they see or hear accordingly


Posted Jul. 16, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dianel

Join Date: 07/16/11

Posts: 15

RE: Is it possible to approach history from an objective point of view? 

I think near history is almost impossible. The author herself shows through her writing how her attitudes evolved, enriched with deepening layers over time.


Posted Jul. 16, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jop

Join Date: 07/16/11

Posts: 14

RE: Is it possible to approach history from an objective point of view? 

There are many points of view and Skloot respects them all; in this way she is as objective as she can be. This complexity is what makes the book so compelling, and so powerful.


Posted Jul. 17, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
chetyarbrough.com

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 14

RE: Is it possible to approach history from an objective point of view? 

No. History is never objective. It is impossible, with the possible exception of date determination, to objectively report the past. Perception is changed with measurement; history is changed by the limitations of one's perception.


Posted Jul. 18, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
nancyo

Join Date: 07/18/11

Posts: 8

RE: Is it possible to approach history from an objective point of view? 

No way. Just by reporting a moment in history, you bring in your own set of biases, judgments, perceptions, etc. I majored in history with three degrees -- and as much as you want to think it's possible, it isn't.


Posted Jul. 18, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
kathrynk

Join Date: 05/21/11

Posts: 31

RE: Is it possible to approach history from an objective point of view? 

It is a slippery slope indeed! After my parents died, the family decided we need to write the history of the family.
No one could agree who should do the writing so three of the four of us agreed we would each write it and then combine them! What should not have surprised us -- did! When I read my sister's account or our history -- it was like -- what family did you grow up in! Our brother scoffed at each of our versions! And I thought mine was
truly the best (notice I didn't say accurate!).

On the other hand, I do believe some historians do a better job than others. I felt this author did a good job in presenting the facts. I was impressed with the notes on each chapter and the fact that she included a index.
When I see that kind of backup, I am more likely to trust the writer/historian.


Posted Jul. 19, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
caylalily

Join Date: 06/20/11

Posts: 4

RE: Is it possible to approach history from an objective point of view? 

Not at all, all things in life are presented through many editorial decisions, til the final cut is made. Kathrynk has the finest example.

I thought Deborah was speaking about her brothers anger...as if it stemmed from past history that they are made the way they are.

Working in health care, I see where the HIPPA laws come from...I found some things related to care of patients horrifying...however I understand that things were different then...and patient care has come a long way...kudos to those who were subjective and brought about much needed change in health care for all people.


Posted Jul. 29, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jknapp

Join Date: 04/11/11

Posts: 37

RE: Is it possible to approach history from an objective point of view? 

In general, I think in terms of writing about historical events is often subjective for the reasons already mentioned. In respect to this book, I think the author tried to present the information objectively. I work in the health care field also and can say I think we have made some postive changes to informing patients of their rights to privacy and who can receive information regarding health choices.But by no means is is a pefect system. Today, we have the internet which can serve to educate or confuse depending on the source. I think one of the biggest differences in my generation is we feel we have a right to question, seek second opinion or even refuse treatment. My parents would have never challenged a physician's recommendation or sought another opinion. There is much to be angry about reading this story,but there is also much to be learned from it too.


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