challenge history history relevance practical history pragmatic historian using history

Challenge: Finding Patterns in History

It feels like I’m stating the obvious, but history teaches all sorts of thinking skills. One of these is that it enhances our ability to see patterns. When you’re just going through your day-to-day life, it’s easy to miss larger patterns, particularly when you don’t compare what’s happening locally to events on a statewide, national or global level. It’s the myopia of living in the now. When you take the time to investigate an historical…

Continue reading

history history relevance practical history pragmatic historian purpose of history using history

Using History to Motivate Change

While the title of this post may not exactly match the language at the top of History’s Hierarchy of Purpose … Using the Past to Shape the Future … the sentiment is the same. There is a lot you can do with history to shape the future, which is why I am now on blog post #3 regarding the subject. When I got the initial idea for this post, I was thinking about how our…

Continue reading

history history relevance practical history pragmatic historian purpose of history using history

Using the Past to Shape the Future – Changing Policy

We’ve been climbing History’s Hierarchy of Purpose and at last we have reached the top – Using the Past to Shape the Future. This is the juicy part, the really fun purpose to which we can intentionally use history. When I start putting my mind to it, I can think of many, many ways to use the past to shape the future. I’ll talk about a number of them over the next several posts, but…

Continue reading

history history relevance practical history pragmatic historian purpose of history using history

History’s Hierarchy of Purpose – Critical Thinking & Context

The Google definition of critical thinking is “the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment.” (If you enter “define critical thinking” into Google Chrome, this is the definition that pops up on top of the page.) We seem to have a shortage of critical thinking in society today. There are plenty of judgments flying around, but they are based more on emotion, propaganda and tribalisim than objective analysis and…

Continue reading

history history relevance pragmatic historian time using history

History Is Like Air

A major, current conversation within the history community is how to show people the relevance of history to their lives. There’s even a History Relevance campaign with an associated website. It is my belief that people don’t recognize history’s relevance because history is too much like air. It surrounds us and is embedded in our lives so deeply that we simply don’t notice it. History is the succession of events on earth. (Well, the succession…

Continue reading