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ACMA01H3 – Lecture3.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Sarah Kleeb

ACMA01H3 – Lecture #3 What is History?  History: A “tricky” category o Simple definition: a record of events that took place in the past  “The study of past events particularly in human affairs… the past considered as a whole” (OED) o Mediation  History comes to use via other people  It is never simply us and the raw event o Context can shape how history is told and whose history is told  History is not an exact science  Attempts at objectivity are not always successful  “History is written by the victors”  History “from above” o A top-down structure  Looking down on events with a privileged perspective  Liberationist Thought o Critical philosophers and historians have started challenging “official” histories  Liberation theology and liberation philosophy  “A clear awareness of (histories of oppression) can come to se only from a historical conspectus which emerges from below” o Conspectus: a general survey of the subject o Central and South America – 1960s and 1970s  Enrique Dussel (“Was America Discovered or Invaded?”) is a liberation philosopher from Argentina  Emphasizing:  Those who suffer  Those who are oppressed  Those who are victims  Those who are on the “losing” side of History  Shifting the historical focus away from the colonizers (provided us with this history) and onto those who were colonized (could not provide us with history for reasons: e.g. genocide)  History and the “Victors” o The “victors” are not the only people to emerge from conflict  History often takes on the character and worlds-view of those on top  This is the “official record”  Passed down through generations  E.g. Christopher Columbus  A “hero‟s tale”  Every year, Columbus‟ “discovery” is celebrated with a holiday in the USA o Colonization of North America led to expansion to Caribbean islands and central and south America  Exploitation of natural goods (e.g. mines)  Slavery, torture, death  Destruction of entire cultures o What did this “discovery” mean from the perspectives of the native inhabitants  Colonialism and Imperialism o Colonialism: “the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically” (OED)  Establishing physical “colonies” o Imperialism: “the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life other areas; the extension of imposition of power (MW  “ A policy of extending a country‟s power and influence through colonization, use of military force, or other mean” (OED)  Establishing mental “colonies”  Example: Colonialism o 1492 – late 1800s (~400 years)  Conquistadors: Spanish explorers and military personnel  Central and South America  Expanding the Spanish empire through colonies and exploitation of native peoples and resources  Also, evangelizing: spreading Catholicism (often by force) o Permanent shift in the cultures of the region  The majority religion in central and south America is  Indigenous people were slaughtered or put into slavery  Increasingly difficult to pass down traditional beliefs  Belief outside Catholicism was prohibited  Many religious items were destroyed o E.g. silver figures melted down and transported to Spain  Essentially, “Culture death”  Syncretism o “The amalgamation or attempted amalgamation of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought”  Merging where, neither one comes out like the other  E.g. Marian devotion  Mary is a key figure in any form of Catholicism o “Virgin” mother of Jesus of Nazareth o But, this
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