After hearing about how you plan on writing about the agency of dogs in the Great War, I now have a better understanding and grasp of your subject matter. I am a little surprised to read that you are questioning animals having agency in history though. I realize that what we as humans do to try to understand what animals are thinking is speculate on what they are thinking (using human thoughts) but I tend to look at this a little differently, I think back to the way that animals have definitely had a part in our past and without them, then history would most certainly been different. I think back to the horses used by Ghengis Khan and the elephants used by Hannibal to cross the Alps, without these animals, the course of history would have been much different. Claire had a good point about the rats and fleas in her post which was a definite twist that I had never thought of. So I do believe that animals deserve their place in history. Great post this week.
As usual you provided a great piece of writing in my opinion. I always look forward to your posts because they seem to make me think back to personal experiences of my own in many cases. In this post, I was taken back to many different memories of all of my four legged family members, who are no longer with me. I was able to look back and remember lots of memories of the impact that they had on me and hopefully I had a positive impact on them as well. The interactions between humans and animals are always going to be there and the lack of our understanding, or the way that some people choose not to understand language and body language used by animals is sometimes tragic. I firmly believe after this week’s readings that animals definitely have a place in our history. The recognition of the agency that animals have received in the past has been almost non existent and with this type of writing/research, hopefully that will change in the near future.
I was glad to see that I was not the only one in the class that was wondering about animals and their agency or interaction with humans. This week’s reading were very eye opening, as I had never really looked at the theory that we were just animals ourselves, having evolved to our current place in the animal kingdom. I then started to think back on how animals have been utilized by humans for their ability to do certain things, i.e. chimpanzees in space, dolphins used by the US Navy, etc. Animals definitely deserve the recognition.
I recall a certain conversation with Dr. Jones, where she said (in regards to our not enjoying math, etc.) “Well, there is a reason that we are historians.” This has really stuck with me and I understand that to move the study of the various disciplines forward, we must start to delve deeper into other aspects of the past to fully understand the big picture, however that means that other disciplines must also look into the field of history to further understand their respective studies. This does not mean that I am completely comfortable with the changes, as I like history, I struggle with the concepts of other fields sometimes…but change is often meant to be for the better, but not always good to start with.
Sorry Laura, I realized that I wrote Faith, when I was starting my comment. I did mean to put Laura, but I was thinking that Faith was my next comment to post, sorry…lol.
I am so glad to be back into the blogging thing again so that I get to read your posts again. I always seem to connect with your insights into the readings. I am glad to see that I am not the only one who was wondering if this connection between disciplines will last, but after seeing that I am not alone in thinking this, I feel a little better towards my takeaway from the readings. I do think that eventually this will become more of the way historians, as well as other professionals will look at the various disciplines, but only time will tell.
Laura, Thanks for your interpretation of Scott being a little dense the first time you read her work. I felt kind of like that this time, as this was the first time that I had read Scott. I found her writing to be a little dense, but manageable. I wanted to also thank you for your bringing up the point about gender being used to understand “human interaction.” I feel that Scott was trying (through all of her writing) to bring that point to the forefront of her argument. I am excited to learn more and more each week about these varying subject fields and look forward to each week’s discussions. Thanks again for a great post.
I think that you have hit the nail right on the head when you say “Much more than a simple concept, gender is a question—the question that prompts us to look into the ways in which the concept of sex has been created and understood. ” This flows right along with what I took away from Scott’s writings. You always seem to have a firm grasp on what we read and I look forward to dissecting these writings in class and getting input on what everyone else thought as well. This idea that gender is a question, leaves me wondering… how? What do we want to ask? Why do we want to ask this? What impact will it have on my interpretation of past events? What difference will my research make when studying gender in those events? All of these leave me overwhelmed in a subject that I had not really considered, not because I didn’t want to study it, rather because I did not see the correlation to what I was researching or studying at the time. Thanks for a great post.
Thanks for a wonderfully vivid post Faith. I am always excited to read your posts and this week was again, another great one. I finally understand what Scott was talking about and why when she was writing in reference to the banning of head scarves in France. I am learning so much about gender studies, women’s studies, and other points of view on history in our class and the discussions. I read Scott this week and thought to myself that it was a little dense, but I found her writing to be much easier to read than Foucault or Iggers. I am excited to get to this week’s discussion to hear everyone else’s take.
Claire, I agree that Steedman’s use of an autobiographical style helped draw me into her world. I didn’t seem to mind that she was talking about gender, time, and social issues. This reading really hit home with me, as some of it was very familiar to me. I also found myself asking why were we having to read this, because this was only one person’s point of view and could, like many have said, be very biased. Taking this into account and after reading Eley’s work (which I wish had read first) I began to see why it was important to read these works. This is just another way of, like you say, “doing” history. I find that I want to read books that are not so haughty and scholarly and are more engaging. Thanks for a great post.