Re: History

Richard Spear (rspear@PRIMENET.COM)
Sat, 26 Aug 1995 18:28:44 -0800

On 27 Aug 95 at 7:04, John Mcreery wrote:

> Richard Spears writes,
[The name is Spear ... no "s" at the end (a common error)]
> "Should not a People's history and culture be in their own hands?"
> Who, pray tell, are the "People"? Shall we say Milosevic (for the
> Serbs)? Tudjman for the Croats? Chiang Kai-shek or Mao Tse-tung for
> the Chinese? The complaint that history has too often been written
> by outsiders with their own historical blinkers is just. The idea
> that insiders have a holy right to say whatever they like about
> themselves and insist that other's agree with it is a remnant of
> 19th century "blood and soil" romanticism: racism sanctified. Does
> noone read Boas and Linton any more?

Well, when it comes to Serbs, etc., I'd be hard-pressed to speak for
them, and I think that Serbs, etc. would have no problem pointing it
out to me. Should I ignore any criticisms like this if they are
voiced by the folks I'm I interested in understanding? I certainly
didn't use the words "holy right" ... I wouldn't except sarcastically
... I'm an athiest. If by "blood and soil romanticism" you mean
culture/historical archaeology, I don't see much problem with it.
The idea that people make history and that they are shaped by their
histories is acceptable to me ... I guess I haven't been overwhelmed
by the functionalists and sytems folks yet, though their arguments
are impressive and interesting.

Boas and Linten ... I've read what was required of me in grad school
(I'm not a working anthro/archaeo) ... let's see .. Boas was 1920's
and Linton in the thirties and forties, yes? Surely we're not afraid
of seeing in new ways, are we? 'Course, I've professed to Marxism and
that's ninteenth century stuff, but I *do* try to read modern

I may seem a bit amused ... that's because I'm always entertained by
the responses that any posts critical in any way of current wisdom in
the "sciences" receive. I *am* a scientist and I *am* a Positivist,
but ain't there no room for acknowledgement of our humanity and its
contribution to the current state of affairs? Do you folks really
want to wear white lab coats and conduct "experiments"? Its our
humanity that got the social sciences going and I'm not going to
abandon that for the promise of more accurate measuring devices and
"objectivity" ... whatever *that* means.

Should not a People's history and culture be in their own hands?

Regards, Richard