Thoughts on Pre-History

I too, completely overlooked the posting/blogging for the readings, since I was so engrossed in the research aspect of my historiography, so I too, must beg forgiveness for the delay in my blog this week. I apologize for this oversight on my part.

I have often wondered when I came across the term pre-history exactly what that meant. I mean history is history, right? Whether it be what modern historians have tended to call it, be it pre-history, ancient, dark, etc. Pre-history was a time in the past that happened and that’s just fact. Why are there labels for periods, when these periods are what comprise mankind’s history? Smail does a good job bringing that point to light and he also makes me start to see that there is a reason why historians have  possibly done this in the past. He also was able to effectively convey the argument of the need for interdisciplinary study and working together. I remember Dr. Jones saying in a conversation that “there is a reason why we are historians”, when talking about the frustration that she and I have with math. If we can find a way to start to connect the various fields to get a better grasp on the past, or on science, math, or (fill in the discipline) then we can begin to pull pre-history into the realm of what we now know as history. I know all of this seems to be confusing, but I believe that everything can all be part one big picture instead of several different smaller pictures.

Smail explains how this history big picture has not been presented before, by talking of biology giving way to culture on page 4, when he says “In these and other ways, works of general history explained why there could be no narrative continuity between prehistory and history.” However, now that we are starting to connect the disciplines, this is no longer the case. I find it intriguing when Smail talks about how biologists start to explain Darwinian thinking in reference to “cultural evolution.” (page 95) Smail does create a case for this conection between science and history in many cases, but I found that when he talked about being scared of the dark, he was able to tie it together, or seemingly so, by saying “…at least, the findings of evolutionary psychology seem to dovetail with the archeological evidence.” This connection between science and history is a fascinating one and can only draw the disciplines together and thus allow for our fields to grow closer together, and make the world a much smaller place. By this I mean that individual fields will not each have their own ideas and be so far apart on research and connections. By bringing the fields closer, people invovled with one field, can then also find connectivity and be able to share that information, much like we share ideas and research now via the internet. Information is spreading and the distance between those that are looking for that information or connection grows much smaller day by day.


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