History by: Eshan sarna

Eshan Sarna

Maria Zapata Perez, Rhea Patel

Badge Leader: None

March 27th to April 4th 2017

AOK Badge: History

Journal Entries

- "Day 2" 2/29/17: Our question relates to the knowledge question "What distinguishes a better historical account from a worse one?" The problem that comes with this question is that what are we going to say makes something "better", we'll have to decide what makes something better. Hindsight bias is something that might be a problem that arises when comparing different accounts of the same event because if we take an account at the time of the event, versus an account of the event now, we already know more about the impact that event had and we would probably have more evidence about that event. We want to try to use evidence and different accounts of the same event and try to see what makes one account better than any other. We want to make the point that it is up to the evidence, way of writing, and knowledge of the writer can make one account seem to be a better account versus a worse one. Simply having a very passionate or emotional account of an event doesn't make that event more correct, even if that might be the account that we will remember easier. I don't know what exactly we are going to do for our experiment, but I know we will have to look at different accounts of the same event and perhaps do this multiple times and create a survey of what people think are the better account and ask them why, or we can just do this within our group.

Day 4: 4/4/17: Now we have finished almost all of the presentations minus one final group but I feel that I have learned a lot of history as an AOK. Something that really struck me was this "endless hole" that one could possibly go down when looking at whether or not the history that we know is really true or if everything we know is false. I'm not quite sure if I like studying more about AOKs or WOKs, but I am looking forward to doing more AOKs.

Elective Reading: I read the article talking about the Slocum Massacre and I think that was one of the most surprising things I have read this year. I was shocked that I had not heard about something to impactful especially being that I live in Texas. After reading this, I really started thinking about why someone would not talk about an event in history even though it is something gruesome. This is an important even in history and it needs to be known.

Extension Proposal

I think that we should add the extension of a TED Talk titled "How I'm discovering the secrets of ancient texts" by Gregory Heyworth. In this Ted Talk, Heyworth talks about how all this unknown history could change the way we think about many different things in the past. He also goes into detail about what goes into researching history and the different processes that go into uncovering past texts and such. While reading this I started thinking about maybe the repercussions that can arise if someone misinterprets something in history and then starts spreading that as the norm.

Our Experiment

We decided to look at two different accounts of the battle of Fort Sumter, one by a primary source and one from a secondary source. Our knowledge question one "What distinguishes a better historical account from a worse one?" By the time that we had finished our experiment, we figured out a pretty clear answer to our question. What distinguishes a better historical account from a worse one really depends on what it is you're looking for in the account that you are consulting.


In the end I realized that this area of knowledge is a very particular area that can be dwelled very deeply into and can cause many issues when that happens. History as a AOK has many limitations but they can be overcome if one does sufficient research.

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