A Much Too Distant Mirror: Projecting ‘History’ onto the Unknowable Animal Mind

What we really mean when we talk about “animal histories.” “Am I not a fly like thee? Or art thou not a man like me?” – William Blake Back when I taught high school in West Virginia, I lived in a $400-per-month efficiency apartment near an abandoned post office on the banks of the Little[…]

One Really Big Difference between Science and History

Employing the word “truth”. By Dr. David P. BarashEvolutionary Biologist and Professor Emeritus of PsychologyUniversity of Washington Science differs from theology and the humanities in that it is made to be improved on and corrected over time. Hence, the new paradigms that follow are approximations at best, not rigid formulations of Truth and Reality; they[…]

Meerkats Without History: Digging for a Non-Human Past in the Kalahari Desert

Perhaps there’s room now for a type of history that moves smoothly between human and animal subjectivities. The truth is, that man is a creature of greater power than other living creatures are … There be beasts that see better, others that hear better, and others that exceed mankind in all other sense. Man excelleth[…]

“Nancy Grows Up,” the Media Age, and the Historian’s Craft

If, as historians, we took such a turn, we could open up new horizons for historical scholarship. The Challenge of “Nancy Grows Up” It begins with anxious crying. The plaintive sound only lasts a few moments before the screams drop into a slightly lower register and transform into a calm murmur. The sound repeats, then[…]

Oral Tradition: The Oldest True Stories in the World

Evidence gathered in recent years shows that some ancient narratives contain remarkably reliable records of real events. Nothing stirred in the relentless midday heat. The gum trees appeared exhausted, nearly drained of life. The hunters crouched in the foliage, their long, sharp spears poised to unleash at a moment’s notice. The giant birds that were[…]

Steampunk for Historians

Besides its striking visual characteristics, we might also consider steampunk a novel and popular way of “doing” history. Most people recognize the distinctive visual iconography of steampunk, which has made steady inroads into film, television, and music videos since the late 1990s. Gears, goggles, vests, corsets—these and many other modified and imagined brass gadgets are[…]

The Origin and History of the BCE/CE Dating System

The use of BCE/CE certainly has become more common in recent years but it is not a new invention of the “politically correct” nor is it even all that new, first appearing in 17th-century Germany and 18th-century England. Introduction In recent years, a persistent criticism has been leveled against the use of the BCE/CE system[…]