Thursday, June 02, 2011

New Twist on History

On my list of to read goes Steve F. Anderson's Technologies of History. To get a better sense, the April 22 Chronicle has a nice Books & Arts review (yes, I am that far behind with the combination of surgery and baseball season).

Of course, anything that invokes the venerable Mr. Peabody has my attention.

The crux of Anderson's work is that historians and academics are not fully considering the impact in shaping what is capital-H History for the society as a whole.  The credentialed book-bound and footnoted historian lacks the impact on today, and certainly the future, that the skilled multimedia presenter.

In other words, as ABC used Mr. Peabody to fulfill a federal requirement to educate in the middle of a cartoon series - we may laugh and not grasp that is is shaping historical perceptions.

Quoting Anderson from the piece:

"it is very likely not the book by the Harvard historian that 300 people in the world read that gives us a historical sensibility and becomes part of how we behave in the world. It's The X-Files."

Or more currently based on the film trailers, X-Men.

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