1:00 pm discussion: Reality vs. Ideology

1:00 section (and maybe one or two selected students who missed the earlier ones–we emailed):

Starting at 1:00 pm and continuing to 1:50, carry on a discussion about the ideas in Burke, Eyewitnessing, chs. 5, 6,  & 7:

Do you think visual materials from the past tell us more about the material realities of the past (e.g., the people or things depicted in the images) or more about the ideology (ideas, values, assumptions, perspectives) of the people who created those images?

Do not create new Posts. Just enter comments for this post. (Click LEAVE A COMMENT, which is either above or below the post.) Read all prior comments (click the post title to show comments; you may need to refresh if it doesn’t show new comments  automatically).

REFRESH your browser every few seconds to get the new comments (not sure why Wp doesn’t do this automatically).

Add to the discussion. Carry it forward. Say something new. Make specific references to Burke (cite page numbers so we can follow). Make specific references to any of the artifacts you saw on Wednesday. Play devil’s advocate. Try out ideas you may or may not believe. Challenge your peers to think, maybe even to change their minds.

Everyone must post at least once IN THE FIRST 15 MINUTES, and continue to follow and contribute for the 50-minute session (this counts as your sketch). I’ll stay out of it the first 15 minutes, then enter selectively, but you all should keep it going regardless.

At the end, I’ll ask how you thought the discussion went.


137 thoughts on “1:00 pm discussion: Reality vs. Ideology”

  1. I must leave the discussion now, it seems to be going great. Nice thoughts everyone. Wish there was a “like” button on this blog. Hope you come to some kind of conclusion by the end! -Peace

  2. I agree with sharggg in that we have to combine visual history with written history. In addition, it would be helpful to study the manner in which the art was made.

  3. @trout since we live in a world of inherent bias, we may be missing the truth of a reality by not bringing bias to the table. An attempt to be objective could exclude underlying meanings that exist because of natural biases

  4. @Jab1994, historian David Brion Davis once said: How many facts does a historian need to make an argument? One. (And he meant this in a good way.)

  5. It’s all about piecing together history with what we have, that being images, written words, or spoken words

  6. Okay, let’s bring some specificity back to the discussion. Turning to your archival artifacts, how do you think you can use any of these ideas (from Burke or from your peers) to figure out how to analyze and interpret the image/object?

  7. I believe that because we have made so much progress on recording recent history through videos, photos, media, blogs and so on our understanding of it has become more accurate and less narrow minded.

  8. @trout, The propaganda posters are pure ideology, meaning that any analysis is going to be context heavy, to say the least. Otherwise, there is very little deep analysis that can be done, only small details pertaining to production methods and whatnot.

  9. @Trout: Fairness is deemed by the beholder. So I don’t believe you can have an absolute fairness, but rather every idea of fairness is based off of biases. This just creates more confusion of who is to say what is and what is not fair? God? A majority vote? Your own tenants? (Hahah and wouldn’t it be nice have a fair and objective news source)

  10. @jab1994 I agree. I was reading by Jonathan D Spencer recently. Woman Wang was a nobody in history, but from her death, the author collected historical records from ancient China which is what you mentioned “piecing together” and found out facts about some of the social problems at that time.

  11. Well I had the “This is man is your FRIEND” WWII posters and I think understanding the intentions and biased view of the U.S Government, which created them, is fundamental in understanding the society itself during the time period and their attempt to understand who are allies and who are not. Being aware of the bias and intentions of the artist helps viewers understand the historical context behind it.

  12. In chapter 5, Burke talks about how images give a new dimension to history. Do you agree with him that with only written text history would be lacking depth?

  13. ahjsmith12345, how will historians of the future ever sort through it all? I once heard a medievalist tell me that at some point in his career he will have seen EVERY extant source for his time period of study. that will never be true again, right?

  14. the archival artifact I was looking at — the hatchet article about the racially charged fight on campus — is a good example of something that could easily be affected by ideology… what were the prejudices, if any, of the writer, for example?

  15. @tout If the bias is within one’s own culture I think so. For example, I have a bias centered around euro-centrism. If I see a painting with a group of people dressed in suits, dresses, and cains, I’d be more incline to believe it’s depleting the upper echelons of society, like in “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” I have a bias that tells me that this is what the upper class appears like in the 19th century and painting seem to confirm this.

    Conversely, I would have difficulty analyzing eastern images, where gentry and nobility have different common symbols or religious icons would be lost on me – I would incorrectly apply my own culture onto another (which is why I think cross referencing is important to confirm or deny my ideas on the picture, generally through historical facts).

    Also: Facts are facts, truths. There are no “your facts” or “their truth” just one truth.

  16. @wfhofmann, I would agree with that to some extent, but plenty of historians (most) have ignored images in their interpretations.

  17. @trout That’s a tough question. I think he is right and I think the process of untangling all the sources will be a difficult but completely necessary one that should be closely monitored.

  18. I had the postcards about Negroes life in DC. In fact, this reading and discussion changed my original opinion about the postcards. I start to think maybe it was a series work reflecting racism.

  19. @trout, The only way to deal with the immense volume of source material in the future is with technological advancements. We have to find some way to get computer processing to lighten the load, and sort some of the source material for us.

  20. @tylerlabov I would have to disagree that facts are facts and there is just one truth to something. I think there are multiple truths and points of view to an event rather than just one. The cause of WWI is said to be a variety of things, they may or may not all be true, but there are still more than one all knowing truth.

  21. OKay that might have to wait for live discussion. Very quickly, everyone: what did you think of this discussion? Did we accomplish as much as we could have in person? Less? Is this better in some ways than classroom discussion? Worse?

  22. I actually really enjoyed this and felt comfortable. I also feel comfortable in class as well though. What was difficult about this was that you had to scroll around and refresh the page in order to stay up to date before writing your own post in response to someone else. Other than that I liked this. Thanks for a fun discussion everyone!

  23. This format makes us pay a bit more attention to what we’re posting, but I wish there was an efficient way to manage separate threads in WordPress. Its not necessarily better or worse, as both have their advantages and disadvantages.

  24. I thought it was really great to read everyone’s insightful comments. I prefer class however because in this format I always felt like I was ten comments behind from the latest comment or question.

  25. I thought it went very smoothly. We generated well over 150 comments to this blog, which is on par or even better then some classes we’ve had. I also like how I can go back to reference the blog with previous post. It is hard keeping up at times when there is a high volume of post at one time, but Ill survive.

    Thank you,

  26. It was good since I could gather my thoughts on the subject before I commented (rather than feeling pressured to speak in the room immediately).

    That and it saved me a Vex trip, so I like it.

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