Helen Goggins: Objectivity in History

In K. Anbalakan’s article, “Objectivity in History: An Analysis”, informs the reader of the different perspectives surrounding the notion of objective history. The idea of objective history dates back to Herodotus who believed a true form of history is achieved by gathering facts from both sides of a specific event that the history is being written about. Ranke built off of Herodotus’s idea of presenting a historical narrative as it actually occurred. Ranke’s methods of writing history earned praise by many historians and brought attention to an emerging opposition called relativism[i]. Relativists argued promoting the idea that history can not be objective and that it stems from the personal understanding and truth of the historian[ii].

Anbalakan presents the Relativists argument along with that of the Objectivists throughout the article. The structure of the pages (21-26) presents the relativist argument as a counterclaim to objective history. The format of the argument appears to show a bias towards objective history based on the the structure and language used to describe historians within relativism. Anabalakan phrases the argument in a way that paints the relativists as a group of people that writes uninformed assumptions of events based off of personal assumption and ideas. The final paragraph on page 25 when he states that relativists are stuck to an idea and notion that falls flat in comparison to objectivism. To further his argument he provides multiple sources that dissect and destroy the idea of relativism as a form of complete history.

[i] “Objectivity in History: An Analysis” pg. 22

[ii] “Objectivity in History: An Analysis” pg. 23


Anbalakan, Kailasam, “Objectivity in History: An Analysis”, https://canvas.vt.edu/courses/56760/files/folder/Objectivity?preview=4554983, 4 September, 2017


Word Count 270

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