Divya Rath, Thomas Vincent, Preeti Iyengar
March 27 2017- April 18, 2017
AOK Badge: History
"Delving into our past experiences to shape our current knowledge"
"What is the relationship between history and memory?"
Today we were assigned out first area of knowledge: history. Today reminded me of the first day of the badge projects, when we all working on sense perception. I was reminded of that day because we are all doing history, much like we all were doing sense perception for our first Way of Knowing. I have to admit that this AOK is fairly interesting and I can't wait to start working on my presentation. After we took the age quiz, we all went over a brief overview of this particular area of knowing. After we were grouped together for our badges, we briefly discussed ideas on our presentations and we also chose a question. We decided to focus on the question, "What is the relationship between history and memory?"
What is the main point about your WOK that you want to make in your Badge Project ? (primary aim)
Our main point is that memory is a form of evidence which allows us to gain knowledge about history. Today in class we decided that our real life situation would be about a Jewish concentration camp survivor Theodore Haas. He recalls his memory from his experiences in the Jewish concentration camps present World War II. In one of his interviews he states his emotional bias towards Hitler was caused by the conditions he had to face within the concentration camps. Therefore, this in turn allowed him to utilize memory as a form of evidence to further justify his negative opinion of Hitler. This evidence also reveals the imperfections of memory as a form of evidence. Memories decay and are forgotten over time which proves that the memories in which Haas has recollected could have some degree of unreliability since he is an old man and then his experience in a concentration happened a while ago (approximately 60 years ago). Since our source is old, it was shown that there were many things that could influence the way he remembered things and the way that conveyed them to the public as a source of knowledge. Haas experienced a traumatic situation which can easily distort one's reality and perspective, further emphasizing the unreliably of memory. In conclusion, our main point is that memory is a form of evidence, which plays a significant role in shaping our understanding of history.
What have you learned so far?
So far I have learned that memory is for a fact a form of evidence that allows people to have a greater understanding of history. However, like all of the other ways of knowledge, memory has its faults and its limits. One of memory's limits is that it decays or it is forgotten over time, which is shown above in the recent journal entry. It is evident that Haas' interview, which is a form of oral history, might not be 100% true due to the fact that memory is a for a fact forgotten over time. Memories can also be over exaggerated whenever it's a memory of a traumatic situation. This canonic again relate to Haas since being in a concentration camp is for a fact a traumatic situation.
We had our first presentation for area's of knowledge today. In my opinion, our presentation was as concise as possible, however I feel as though we our main aim was not as clear as it should have been. This is evident in the grade that Mr.Morrison gave us. He too said that the only thing that was not right in our presentation was that our main point was not clear enough. Keeping that in mind, we have to redo our presentation which I think is beneficial to me since it will be good practice for the TOK presentation that we have in a couple of weeks. Other than that I feel like our presentation was simple yet still contained what was necessary.
The Redo Presentation Journal
We just had our redo presentation; according to Mr. Morrison, it was substantially better than our first presentation. I believe that our main pint was clearer and more concise which Mr.Morrison really liked. It was very clear that we elaborated more on the relationship between memory and history. We also focused more on the limitations of memory as a form of evidence, proving the idea that memory isn't always as reliable as it seems. Also, since our source is old, it was shown that there were many things that could influence the way he remembered things and the way that conveyed them to the public as a source of knowledge. We also elaborated on the idea that memory is a form of evidence, which plays a significant role in shaping our understanding of history. In my opinion we were much more prepared compared to our original presentation and I feel as though we individually new exactly what to say. Although redoing the presentation was a lot of work I feel like it allowed us to have a better understanding of history as a way of knowing and memory as a way of knowledge.
possible Knowledge Questions
- Does history have empirical evidence?
- Are good historians good story tellers?
- Is history meant to teach us lessons based on the “mistakes” of the past?
Most of our documentation was done in a word document which I will put the link to. Our knowledge question is "What is the relationship between history and memory?" Like stated in my planning journal, we spent most of our time in class talking about history and the ways that we could possibly relate it to memory We each jotted down information on history so that when it came to making our presentation we would be extremely prepared. We want our presentation to be a simple as possible so that our main point those not get overshadowed by everything else. I think that our group worked extremely well together and we were efficient with our time in and out of class. Below is a link to our skript.
“Jewish Deportee on Persecution, Past and Present.”
Marceline Loridian-Ivenes an Auschwitz survivor believes that the lessons from World War II have not been learnt and that they are being repeated right now. There is a saying that states "Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” Ms. Loridian-Ivenes believes that history is already repeating itself after the attacks of the radical Islamists at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. She accused France of indifferent to a new anti-Semitism. She accuses the French in this manner because of the reaction they had after the attacks. President Hollande called a huge rally in support of the french values but when French Jews were killed in 2012 by Mohammed Merah the French government did not throw a rally in support of them. She has written many books on the subject of anti-Semitism and the life in a concentration camp. In one of her books she writes a quote for her dead father “You had chosen France, she isn’t the melting pot you’d hoped for. Everything is getting tense again. We’re called ‘French Jews’; there are also French Muslims, and here we are face-to-face — I who had hoped never to take sides, or at least, to simply be on the side of freedom.” She believes that the world is filled with wicked carless people and killers that outweigh the heroes, and she hopes “Yet maybe a little hero will wake up one day and save us all, but I’m not too sure about that.” Anti-semitism is still a very real thing and it there are many large groups that are hostile against Jews. Many people believe that Donald Trumps views against muslims and their religion can be compared to Hitler and his hatred towards Jews, this mentality worries many people especially Muslims that he may be capable of such cruel acts. Trump had already take actions towards the separation from Muslims with his travel bans that he has now uplifted. Also we don’t only see hostilities towards Jews and Mulsims but also towards african americans throughout racism. Racism can still be seen in older generations and in a lot of southern countries. This teaches us the idea that history repeats itself and that the only way that we could stop it from occurring again is by learning from past events. In other words, history has all the answers to our everyday problems. We just have to open to learning about past events rather than criticizing them. In history there are many lessons to be learnt the only way we can stop it from repeating its self is by learning from the past.
"It may be that all of the good things and all of the bad things about people and the way that we organize ourselves are simply going to breed patterns as we continue to make history as a species."
This article should be added to the elective reading list because it discusses the idea that history repeats itself, due to the fact that we are unable to learn from our past mistakes. However it also discusses how that might always be the case; there are times when people do learn from their past experiences (which is known as history), however surprisingly history is still doomed to repeat itself. An example in which was given in this article was that after many wars happened between Germany and France, France"still demanded that confiscatory terms of surrender be imposed on Germany after The First World War." It is evident that the French wanted to do eveything possible to avoid going down that disastrous path again. However, after their efforts, the Second World War happened. This shows that although they learned from history, they were unable to stop it from repeating again. I think this article is very informative and it for fact gave me a new perspective on history and its impact on future events. I always believed that we were unable to avoid history from repeating itself because of our lack of initiate in actually looking back and learning from our past events. However, with this article I realized that maybe "all of the bad things about people and the way that we organize ourselves are simply going to breed patterns as we continue to make history as a species."
FURTHEr exploring Oral History
Oral history is known as "historical information obtained using tape or video recordings of interviews with people who have first-hand knowledge of past events." Oral history is a form of evidence that allows us to have a greater understanding of past events, also known as history. This idea was extremely evident in the real-life situation we used for our presentation on History as an area of knowledge. Jewish concentration camp survivor Theodore Haas recalls his memory from his experiences in the Jewish concentration camps present World War II. In this interview he states his emotional bias towards Hitler which was caused due the conditions he had to face within the concentration camps, (which Hitler created.) Therefore, this in turn allowed him to utilize memory as a form of evidence to further justify his negative opinion of Hitler. This interview is a form of oral history and can therefore be used by other people to gain another perspective regarding Hitler’s regime. It it were't for Haas' interview we would have never been introduced to that specific perspective on Hitler's regime. Haas allowed us to further understand this horrific past event and it for a fact gave us a unique insight on the situation.