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June 26, 2022, 03:03:00 pm

Author Topic: History Extension Essay Marking Thread  (Read 20357 times)

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sudodds

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History Extension Essay Marking Thread
« on: June 06, 2017, 11:25:38 pm »
Heya!

Though I am by no means an expert in history extension (is anyone?), a few people have PM'd me recently for help/guidance with their major works. Given that for many of you they are due soon, I thought this thread might be helpful :)

Feel free to post any history extension responses you would like looked over - whether that be part of your Major Work, or a practice exam response for Section I or II :)

Before posting, please read the essay marking rules/rationale here.

*In terms of posting your Major Work - remember that the task is internally assessed (ie. your mark is determined by your school, and by now your teacher should have a pretty good idea of whos topic is who in your class) and includes a logbook component - so it should be totally safe to post :) If you have any concerns however please let me know*

Susie
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 08:44:05 pm by jamonwindeyer »
FREE HISTORY EXTENSION LECTURE - CLICK HERE FOR INFO!

2016 HSC: Modern History (18th in NSW) | History Extension (2nd place in the HTA Extension History Essay Prize) | Ancient History | Drama | English Advanced | Studies of Religion I | Economics

ATAR: 97.80

Studying a Bachelor of Communications: Media Arts and Production at UTS 😊

Looking for a history tutor? I'm ya girl! Feel free to send me a PM if you're interested!

sudodds

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Re: History Extension Essay Marking Thread
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2017, 10:42:09 pm »
Hi Susie,

Thanks for agreeing to take a look at my essay, it's much appreciated! :)

Garcia
P.S. Note that I haven't finalised my footnotes

Heya! My comments can be found in bold throughout your response in the spoiler below! :) Just a heads up, in future you'll need to reach 15 posts to qualify for essay marking (however as I forgot to mention that in my response to your PM + I really want to get this thread kicked off I'll still have a look and give you my thoughts :) Lucky you  ;) I'll just count this as 15 future posts, so if you want to get anything marked again in the future, you'll need to reach 30.)

Spoiler
How and why has the history of the Titanic been continually rewritten over time? This is where the historiography is, so I’m hoping that this makes up the bulk of your argument! However, I’m also hoping that you don’t just focus on why the history of the Titanic is rewritten – but why history is rewritten in general (using the Titanic as a case study)!

A study of the benefits and detriments of mythology Oooo sounds interesting! to the original historical event.

They were trapped in the biting Atlantic chill, venturing into the unknown; assailed by the uproar of the wild wind, waves and rain, until doom, darkness and death would soon settle over all the lives of 1500 victims. Little did they know, what appeared to be the end of a disaster, was in fact the birth to a century of fascination, discussion, discourse and mythology. Who said this? Great quote, but you need to reference.

The Titanic’s meta-narrative of the Titanic’s sinking continues to captivate the attention of historians and the hearts of responders to this day and beyond. This reads clunky, which isn’t great, especially since this is your opening sentence. I think the main problem is the repetitiveness of the word ‘Titanic.’ I get that that is the topic, but I still think you need to rephrase. Along with this you are sounding a bit dramatic, particularly the “to this day and beyond.” Remember that this isn’t a speech, it is an academic essay, and your language choices should reflect that. The story Narrative rather than story – tiny point but just sounds more sophisticated. of Titanic has filtered Not sure if filtered is the best word here. Developed? Evolved (maybe even perhaps Devolved?) into a cultural historical mythology, swaying public perceptions of the tragedy from its various interpretive allusions. Is it swaying them from various interpretive allusions – as in away from them? Or is it swaying public perception THROUGH various interpretive allusions? The term ‘rewritten’ can be defined as presenting in a different form or manner. It would be nice if you provided a few reasons as to why history in particular is rewritten, rather than immediately jumping into the Titanic. In relation to the Titanic, this connotes the various mediums that have been produced about In regards to - just sounds better than 'about' the event. In order to examine how the history of the Titanic has been continually rewritten over time, several cultural myths and significant texts including Walter Lord’s non-fiction account A Night to Remember (1958) and James Cameron’s blockbuster film Titanic (1997) will be analysed according to the historical backdrop of their respective contexts. Go further than this. What are their methodologies? Their socio-philosophical beliefs? What is their historiographical context (ie. Postmodernist, social history, empiricism, etc. etc). According to critics including Steven Biel, Michiko Kakutani, Aneta Karagiannidou and Vagelis Siropoulos, the history of the Titanic has been continually rewritten over time to enhance our understanding of the cultural paradigms, ideals and beliefs of the contexts in which they were created. Were they written to enhance our understanding? Or do they just enhance our understanding, as in understanding is the by product not the intent? Thus, in turn, this has shaped the way composers present history. The history of the Titanic has also Rather than putting “has also”, which looks less sophisticated, maybe just start this sentence with “Furthermore” been reworked due to the fascination of responders with its notion of death, disaster and mystery. The benefits and detriments of mythology to the original historical event will also be drawn. Sounds clunky, consider rephrasing. This last bit just kinda sounds like a list of what you will discuss, which isn’t the purpose of a synopsis (I’m assuming that is what this paragraph is) Benefits will be examined through its ability to accommodate to individuals ? not really sure what you mean. Rephrase, and detriments through the sensationalism and glorification of the Titanic which has caused responders to lose sight of the reality of the incident. Ultimately, however, whilst the process of mythologising a historical event can be both enriching and damaging, the benefits are more advantageous than harmful, outweighing the detriments. Thus, the Titanic possesses textual integrity from its differing historiography which still remain relevant to contemporary responders, enabling it to withstand the test of time.
   
The Titanic, according to American society of the 1910s, would stand for a great future. Complemented with wide optimism in relation to their view of the future, technology continually advanced advancing? Your tenses in this sentence need revising.; aircraft was built and electric light was relished. The Titanic symbolised the technological triumph of its time and the utmost mythical object of desire. In addition to this optimism, journalists have portrayed the ship as a social microcosm since its sinking, displaying the class barriers that divided and defined European society at the time, particularly in Great Britain. Can visualise a really interesting discussion emerging through a look at these historiographical concepts; Social History, History from the Bottom Up, Great Men History, Marxist conception of HistoryThe societal division of classes is evident when Irish journalist Filson Young stated only two weeks after the Titanic sunk: “rulers were on top, surrounded by the rich and the luxurious, enjoying the best of everything.” The social norms and status on the Titanic also ties to the mythology surrounding the sinking with its cultural myths of first-class, white, male sacrifice. GREAT MEN HISTORY!!!! TOP DOWN APPROACH! Mention this stuff explicitly, it is the conceptual links that make it a history extension essay and not just a history essay. On May 4, a funeral was held for John Jacob Astor IV, supposedly the richest man on the ship when it sank. Cultural historian Steven Biel argues that he was the first part of the cultural myths that arose from the Titanic disaster, referring it to “first-cabin male heroism” which occurred from the class divisions that dominated society at the time. Further, records show that only 25 percent of steerage passengers survived the sinking, compared to 62 percent of first-class passengers. Despite these statistics, much of the media, particularly newspaper stories, artificially glorified only first-class male passengers as heroes to reinforce the significance of societal division. Evident in a 1914 Sydney Morning Herald article, the bravery of these men “must force even the most unsympathetic to recognise the heroism which sent the women and children of all classes away in the only boats available,” further strengthening the concept of gender bias and heroism only being associated with first-class males. Thus, cultural myths of the Titanic have arose as a result of the values of optimism, class and status; encapsulating that the construction and representation of history is predominantly shaped to illustrate the ideals and beliefs of their respective contexts. I really think you need to at least mention a few of the concepts above. The Bottom Up approach/Marxist conception of history supports the notion that we need to be looking beyond the “rich white men,” and instead focus upon other groups in society as well – the voiceless (lower classes in this case). If you need any help with this let me know, as the bottom-up approach was a significant component of my major work.


The Titanic reemerged in the 1950s after World War II, clearly prompted by the appearance of Walter Lord’s non-fiction account A Night to Remember (1955) and the film it inspired with the same title later in 1958 directed by Roy Baker. Not a very strong opening statement – where is the judgement? Conceptual framework of the paragraph? This is reading like a narrative. Lord’s significant rewriting of the history of the Titanic has been long regarded as the high point by historians and survivors alike for its accuracy as it was written in accordance to interviews he conducted with 63 survivors, including steerage passengers whose stories were ignored in 1912. Moreover, Lord established the disaster as the end of an era; as a transition from the past to the modern age paradigms of uncertainty, tumult and disillusionment evident in the 1950’s. Great but where are the concepts? What historiographical concepts and issues are present in this discussion? Objectivity? Empiricism? You need to identify and link these. Lord begins his account with lookout Frederick Fleet gazing from the crow’s nest just before the moment of disaster, however before the iceberg is introduced, the focus of the story shifts to the experiences of collision for first-class passengers. Is his account written as a narrative? This is important. Could link Hayden White and the concept of trope nicely. Postmodernist interpretation of history in general also. Following the description of the Titanic’s stern disappearing into the ocean, Lord interferes with the narrative by providing a broader historical perspective on the disaster. He proceeds to note the sinking of the Titanic as a representation of the end of an era, arguing that uncertainty during his respective context had replaced the belief in a steady, orderly civilised life. Ultimately, Lord’s non-fiction account enabled responders to first become aware that the Titanic symbolised a transition from the past to modern values of dismay and apprehension. Hmmmm, just agreeing with a historian and their interpretation is too easy. Is there anything that you can critique him on? Take a look at his methodologies.

The success and significance of A Night to Remember also ties to its reveal about 1950s America alive to the threat of nuclear attack and the Cold War, as it did about the Titanic itself. Check your grammar and expression here. Quite confusing. Again avoid being narrative in your topic sentences (avoid being narrative in general – but here especially. You should always start with a judgement) Literary critic Michiko Kakutani noted that Lord treated the Titanic sinking as “a watershed event, an epochal dividing line between the certainties of the 19th century and the confusions of the 20th” So he used the historiographical concept reductionism? Does he utilise a teleological perspective?, questioning what made Lord’s nostalgia for the lost era of Titanic so contagious. Kakutani answers as Biel perceives it in his cultural historic book Down with the Old Canoe (1996), stating that the Titanic nostalgia had “a lot to do with cold war anxieties: compared with the horrors of a nuclear war, the Titanic came to be seen as a ‘quainter kind of disaster’, a symbol of lost innocence.” Moreover, Lord’s Titanic, according to literary theorist Roland Barthes, holds a status as an open, “writerly” text, which is amendable to all sorts of idiosyncratic, individualized readings. Many commentators agree that Lord, who refers to the Titanic as an “unsinkable subject” writes that his book has made the appeal seem universal; to social historians YAY! Mention this early. it is microcosm of the early 1900’s, and to nautical enthusiasts it is the ultimate shipwreck. Among these commentators, Kakutani strengthens this notion, arguing that the Titanic can be read as metaphor for the end of the Edwardian Age of confidence and the beginning of the modern age of anxiety, or rather, interpreted as an anti-suffragist narrative justifying traditional gender roles for men and women. Ultimately, Lord’s relatively Relatively? Relativism ;) another concept you could maybe integrate accurate representation of the Titanic has evidently enhanced our understanding of the cultural values of the 1950s, illuminating how composers’ depiction of history is largely influenced by their context.

The Titanic resurfaced decades later, predominantly triggered by James Cameron’s hugely successful blockbuster film Titanic (1997). This is still reading narrative. I feel like you are providing me with the “history of the interpretations of the titanic” rather than presenting me with a historiographical dissection of the interpretations – where is your judgement? Many Hollywood historical films including Cameron’s claim to historical authenticity through its extensive background research, however, as it appears, most remain loyal to the “Hollywood standards of glossy aestheticism.” THIS SHOULD BE YOUR JUDGMENT! To what extent can historical fiction ever elucidate truth? When Hollywood disaster movies, horror movies and thrillers presents trauma, it does so in ways that ‘de-emphasise’ the effect. I’m confused, you need to explain this more. What do you mean by ‘de-emphasise’? Is this only historical disaster movies/horror movies/thrillers etc, or just any movie under that genre? According to critics Aneta Karagiannidou and Vagelis Siropoulos, the mise-en-scenes of contemporary thrillers such as Twister (1996) and The Perfect Storm (2000) employ a “visual plentitude in order to glamorize the traumatic event” by exchanging “horrific absence with glossy presence.” The Titanic (1997) is no different, rewriting the history of the original event by following such strategies paradigmatically. As Cameron stated himself, he “wanted to place the audience on the ship, in its final hours, to live out the tragic event in all its horribly fascinating glory.” There should not, however, be any fascination or glory for the victims who lost their lives on the night of the disaster. Why? Don’t make blanket statements. Despite the breakthrough of advanced digital technology during Cameron’s time, he does not take advantage of this, as his film can be considered as one that ignores the human suffering through his representation of a “glorious death.” How does this relate? How does Cameron ignoring human suffering mean that he isn’t taking advantage of advances in digital technology? Karagiannidou and Siropoulos strengthen this notion by arguing that despite Cameron’s frequent focus on the fear and agony of the victims’ faces, the suffocation and dismay of the dismemberment of bodies is never captured. Panoramic shots of falling bodies and elaborate camera angles are used instead, magnificently displaying the water bursting in from everywhere and sweeping the human beings away like inanimate objects. The most significant moment of the ship sinking is accompanied with heavenly lighted, angelic sounds, ultimately conveying the film’s narrative structured in a way to ‘de-emphasise’ the effect of the traumatic event.

Additionally, Cameron rewrites the history of Titanic from his sense of demand for antiquated Hollywood romanticism in the modern age of casual sexuality, choosing to portray the film with the greatest love of all “against the backdrop” of the “absolute catastrophe” I really think that taking a look at Hayden White's 'tropes' could be a really good idea.. Cameron successfully meets this grand demand for love by writing an old-fashioned love story in a nostalgic manner which still captures many responders today through its sentimental extravaganza. Lovely sentence. The focus of love is also supported by critic Edna Lim, who notes that the pace of the scenes depicting the sinking of the Titanic is much faster than preceding scenes, marked with a shorter duration of shots, rapid editing and action, particularly those scenes featuring protagonists Jack and Rose. Despite subtle shifts in the narrative from the romance to the sinking, they are the focal point of the narrative and the audience is engaged in their experiences at all times. Hence, although the narrative is present, Cameron’s Titanic (1997) does not accurately engage with the story of the Titanic and the experiences of other passengers and crew. Rather, Cameron focuses on elements of Hollywood to a greater extent as opposed to an accurate historical depiction of 1912 and the original event. Hmmm my question is - is that necessarily a bad thing? Titanic is a fiction movie - it doesn't claim to be history, just that it has historical elements imbused through the narrative. I think you are lacking a discussion upon the role and significance of historical fiction as a whole, that is important in order to support your argument.Thus, Cameron rewrites the history of the Titanic by remaining loyal to the classic Hollywood style and responding to the significant value of love during the 1990’s, reinstating that composers present history in relation to their respective contexts. Not just contexts though - he's a film maker. He has a purpose.

In addition to composers rewriting the history of the Titanic over time due to the influence of the prevailing cultural paradigms of their contexts, another motive can be linked to neurologist Sigmund Freud and his study on the human compulsion to repeat.Oooo sounds interesting! Historians and individuals today continue to go back to the Titanic, despite its activation activation?of the trauma of loss and grief associated with it. As it appears, the fascination of Titanic’s history from responders ultimately comes from its notion of death, disaster and mystery. After observations of patients suffering from various post-war traumatic incidents, Freud concluded that there is an inherent human tendency towards repetition of painful situations. Freud had divided the human instincts into two categories: the life instincts and the death instincts; with the death and “all its relative states” being a structural part of human existence which is compulsively repeated in various ways. Hence, Titanic’s luring nature and our continual fascination with its story is evidently not with itself, but rather, with the notion of death within it. I enjoyed this paragraph. I didn't feel like this was narrative in comparison to your other paragraphs. I'd love you to delve into this more.

Another principal intention of rewriting the Titanic history can be explicated through its ability to educate and encapsulate the cultural values and knowledge of a society in which it was created. Great judgement. More like this please! Myths, according to psychologist Mark Goddard, bestow meaning, teaching people “who they are and where they belong”, freeing them from a “sense of meaningless isolation.” It is evident from the above analysis of several significant examples of Titanic myths and texts that creators are naturally inclined to manipulate and customise their work in accordance to the responders of their context, illustrating the ideals and beliefs of the time. This customisation, especially evident in Cameron’s film, enriches more interest and appeal to past responders. For present responders, it can be considered a valuable way to connect with the past, to teach history, to gain knowledge of history and how it has been presented and interpreted over time. Hence, the rewriting of the original Titanic event ultimately enables a matter of objectiveness to be turned into a subjective manner as it fits into our desired ideals. Lovely! Again a much stronger paragraph that I would love you to delve more into. Great conceptual framework. I would love some more historiographical theory NOT related to the titanic though, where you are forced to make the connections. Makes your essay (and your role as a historiographer) look stronger.

A benefit of the mythology of the Titanic to the original historical event is predominantly its immense capability to accommodate for every individual. hmm is that a historiographical benefit, or a literary benefit?Many commentators make clear that the Titanic story has something for everyone, serving as a “storytelling crucible for consumers.” Numerous informants from Brown’s, McDonagh’s and Shultz’s research of Titanic as an ambiguous brand have comprised adaptions of Titanic’s disaster to their personal circumstances. Some refer to the loss of life and relate it to sudden deaths of their loved ones through accident or disease, whilst some view it as an “emblem of their ambitions, aspirations, and hopes in unsuccessful attempts to forge careers, build businesses or attain educational qualifications”. Some treat the story as a “precedent and template” for human catastrophes of the like, such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina or the Fukushima earthquake. Some view the tragedy in an optimistic light, arguing that Titanic is an inspirational, important reminder to live life to the fullest and make the most of every moment as death and disaster may be lurking right around the corner. Not too keen on you just listing different ways people can connect to the story of the titanic. Where is the analysis? Evidently, myths are amendable to and enable various individualised interpretations and readings. Thus, it is evident that the rewriting of the history of Titanic possesses an advantageous nature as it accommodates with and procures the experiences that best articulates each and every individual. I don't think you have argued that it is advantageous, more so that it just is if that makes sense. Like I don't necessarily get the sense that this "accomodation" is a good thing.

There cannot be discussion of the benefits of the mythology of the Titanic without simultaneous mention of its detriments. Despite the success of innumerable movies, musicals, documentaries, plays, poems and many more that have been created about the Titanic, the damages of mythology to the original historical event are apparent. The sensationalism and glorification in differing interpretations of the Titanic over time has caused responders to lose sight of the reality of the incident. This is clearly evident when individuals today are asked about their thoughts or knowledge about the Titanic, as many only seem to be able to recount the events which took place in Cameron’s film. Markedly, the general public or the younger generation should remember or be taught history differently. The media, Hollywood and the public have blatantly capitalised upon the tragedy, manipulating responders into believing the film is an accurate representation of which the line of events occurred. Hollywood’s sensationalism of the historical event purely for entertainment purposes has its colossal audience engrossed in the fictional story, consequently resulting in responders losing sight of the fundamental basis on which the movie has built. Hence, this has also caused the inconsideration and disrespect for the families and friends of those who lost their lives in the tragedy. After conducting methodological research of how Titanic has become an ambiguous brand meaningful to millions of consumers, opinions of scholars including Stephen Brown, Pierre McDonagh and Clifford J. Shultz found that for the vast majority of their informants Titanic means Cameron’s film, not the historical event. They argue that their understandings are “cinematically shaped” and that their “interest in the latter is a consequence of the former”:

Moderator: Are you familiar with the Titanic?
Group: The movie? Ah, okay. You mean the boat that sank? The movie?
Moderator: Titanic for you is the movie?
Group: Yes, it means Leo DiCaprio … (laughs).

Cameron’s movie has, ultimately, become the baseline for the Titanic “brand”. Nowhere was this more clearly illustrated than by the sinking of Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia in January 2012, where many media reports drew “unprompted parallels with the Titanic – Cameron’s Titanic – in their accounts of the tragedy, as did the passengers themselves. This was further proved when Cameron’s blockbuster was rereleased in 3D to acknowledge the centenary of the sinking, where many teenage viewers were unware that the film was, in fact, based on a historical event. Thus, it is clear that due to the variations in each construction and representation of the history of Titanic over time, this has consequently resulted in detriments to the original historical event. A stronger paragraph, but I'd like more of a discussion of why. Why is society so enamoured by cinematic constructions. Don't just refer to Titanic, look at the broader picture.

Despite the ongoing myths and differing representations of the Titanic over time, however, the benefits of mythology to the original historical event ultimately outweigh the detriments as it endures to be worthwhile for creators and responders to continue writing and discussing the event, enabling it to withstand the test of time. The creation of these differing interpretations on the Titanic have acted as a catalyst for discussion about the event between individuals today, and in a way, has kept it alive. Interesting point - however is keeping alive a false narrative still good? Are any interpretations not false (postmodernist route) This, in itself, can be considered as a valuable way to pay respect to those who lost their lives in the tragedy and to their loved ones who have suffered as a result. The historiography of the Titanic through its innumerable retellings and interpretations, have, ultimately, enabled it to withstand the test of time.

Upon drawing an analytical comparison of the myths produced by each respective context I don't think there was enough discussion of the impact of context - not just about titanic, but on a broader level. Why does context matter?, it becomes evident that the history of the Titanic has been rewritten over time to enrich our knowledge and understanding of the cultural paradigms, ideals and beliefs their respective contexts. As a result, this has influenced how composers form and present historical depictions. During the time of the Titanic’s sinking, cultural myths arose from their values of optimism, class and status, whilst Lord’s non-fiction account revealed cold-war anxieties of the 1950’s and the transition to modern age paradigms of uncertainty, tumult and disillusionment. Furthermore, Cameron’s rewriting of the Titanic’s history encapsulates the significant values of Hollywood and love during the 1990’s. The Titanic has also been revised in its representation as a result of Titanic’s luring nature of death, disaster and mystery. The benefits of the original historical event include its attainability to various individualised interpretations and readings. Hmm, i don't think your conclusion should be so list-y. Like I know you want to sum up your argument, but I think you can do that in a more sophisticated way than just listing your paragraph topics. In contrast, the detriments of mythology are conveyed through the sensationalism and glorification of the Titanic, consequently shaping responders to neglect the trauma and reality associated with the disaster. Despite the damaging effects of mythologising the Titanic, however, the benefits outweigh the detriments as it enables creators to add ‘colour’ into ‘black and white’ history. Thus, continual and differing historiography of the event has ultimately facilitated enduring discussion, discourse and fascination of the Titanic for responders.

Okay! So my overall comments :)

Great work Garcia! Though I have mainly focused on the negatives throughout my comments (because identifying the problems is going to be more beneficial for you), this is a solid piece of work and you should be proud of your hard work. I'd say currently you are probably sitting at a mid-range E3 range - lets push you to that E4 ;)

- CONCEPTS: There was a distinct lack of these throughout your response. You hint at them a few times, however overall there just isn't really that much discussion. These concepts are really important - they are the difference between a history essay and a historiography essay. I said a few times that your response was reading too narrative. That is because you were providing me with a chronology of the historiography, rather than the actual historiography itself (I highly recommend adapting your structure away from a chronology - it is not looked upon very favourably at the marking centre). I didn't get much of a sense of your own voice and opinion. It got better towards the end, however still needs to be improved. With that in mindl

- HISTORIOGRAPHY: Okay so yes - you have a lot of historiography on the Titanic, which is great! But I need more on the broader concepts. It is always my belief that an event should be a case study, and not "the essay". Like it is better to focus on the historiographical concepts, and then show how the case study demonstrates the validity/un-validity of them, rather than as the primary focus.

- LANGUAGE: Comparatively minor point, but your language and grammar is holding you back in some sections.

But overall, great work Garcia :)

Good luck!

Susie
FREE HISTORY EXTENSION LECTURE - CLICK HERE FOR INFO!

2016 HSC: Modern History (18th in NSW) | History Extension (2nd place in the HTA Extension History Essay Prize) | Ancient History | Drama | English Advanced | Studies of Religion I | Economics

ATAR: 97.80

Studying a Bachelor of Communications: Media Arts and Production at UTS 😊

Looking for a history tutor? I'm ya girl! Feel free to send me a PM if you're interested!

sudodds

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Re: History Extension Essay Marking Thread
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2017, 01:15:53 am »
Hey,
Just got this draft for extension history, I was wondering if you could take a look at. Thank you very much!!!
Hey damecj! Sure thing :) My comments are in the spoiler below!!

Spoiler
Evaluate the differing reasoning between schools of history in the justification of the use of nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki A girl in my class did pretty much the exact same question! This isn't feedback haha just random coincidence lol

The nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August 1945 respectively were the first uses of nuclear weaponry in history. Your first sentences is setting this essay up to be a history essay and not a historiography essay! Think more broadly - what is the greater, historiographical issue that you are assessing? You need to make a judgement with your first sentence, NOT provide context. Then United States President Harry Truman made the decision to use nuclear technology in wartime again still waiting for the historiography - 2 sentences in and I'm still looking at a recount of the events - remember that this is EXTENSION not modern history (even in modern you'll want to be making your first sentence a judgement however). The history surrounding bombings is one based highly on interpretation, which is demonstrated through the differing views of schools of history. Better - this is historiography. If anything this should have been your first sentence! However I want more - everything is based on interpretation. As EH Carr said, "interpretation is the lifeblood of history" - what makes Hiroshima and Nagasaki any different? Why should I care that this is an interpretation, if I know that all history is an interpretation? I think your argument needs to be stronger and more unique. Harry Truman the President Truman and Henry Stimson his advisor provide pivotal historiography not sure historiography is the best word to use here - that'd imply that they wrote history. 'Evidence' is probably better for the empirical and orthodox don't like the use of the term orthodox here - I don't think empiricist = orthodox historians such as Robert Maddox. The historians that display a more annales brand of history such as Paul Ham and Gar Alperovitz aim to provide an account more based on the social factors so... social history? Mention the bottom-up approach!, It is important however to consider the blended approaches of the bombings, this is seen through the work of Tsuyoshi Hasegawa a Japanese historian who provides a combined study that proposes to provided a non-bias account of events proposes - but does she actually? Surely not. Hopefully you rip them to shreds  ;) The different is this an unfinished sentence?.

All
Historians largely accept the context of the historiographical debates surrounding the decision to use nuclear weapons. Bold statement - you need to back this up, at least through footnotes. Truman was aware of the success of the Manhattan Project: the development of the world’s first nuclear bomb. Writing in his diaries on 17 June 1945, Truman recorded:

I have to decide Japanese strategy - shall we invade Japan proper or shall we bomb and blockade? That is my hardest decision to date. But I'll make it when I have all the facts.

Truman knew the gravity of the decision that he was making and was aware of the power he had. This is looking like a history essay.On 25 July, Truman talked about his plans to end the war, stating that Stimson “and I are in accord. The target will be a purely military one and we will issue a warning statement”, the Potsdam Proclamation, “asking the Japanese to surrender and save lives”. The American leader continued:

I'm sure they will not do that, but we will have given them the chance. It seems to be the most terrible thing ever discovered, but it can be made the most useful.

History essay - you're writing a history essay. I'll elaborate more on this in my final comments, but to stop this I suggest using Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a case study rather than the dominating question. You'll still mainly be talking about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, just by broadening your scope you are allowing yourself more opportunity to delve into the historiographical concepts!

Truman acknowledged the power of the bombs, possibly the most crucial element in ending the war. The Potsdam Proclamation was a crucial factor in Truman’s decision.. History essay. The declaration stated thirteen terms focused around the Japanese surrender, clearly stating that “the alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction”. These terms reinforced Truman’s later statement:

We have used it in order to shorten the agony of young Americans. We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan's power to make war. Only a Japanese surrender will stop us.

It is pivotal in looking at the bombings to look at the reports made by Henry Stimson. Henry Stimson was the Secretary of War during the time of the atomic bomb as he had direct personal control of the project. Better, but still not enough historiography. Stimson was in charge of all the steps in the bombings and was pivotal in the verdict to eventually drop the bombs. Stimson was the main advisor to the president in the dropping of the bomb and directly advised the President on the issue. Last two sentences = history essay, and were also quite repetitive.  Stimson wrote ‘’The Decision to use the Atomic Bomb’’ in February of 1947 in Harper’s Magazine. He was coming under increasing pressure for his decision from highly respected public figures and the article aims to justify in his reasoning in dropping the bomb.Go into this more. This is historiography - motive! Identically to Harry Truman the motivation according to Stimson was the

‘’Premier of Japan, Suzuki, rejected the Potsdam ultimatum by announcing that was “unworthy of public notice.” In the face of this rejection we could only proceed to demonstrate that the ultimatum had meant exactly what it said.’’

At present you are just listing interpretations to me. I need you to analyse. Also - what is your structure? It's not clear.

Indicating that like the reasoning for from? Check grammar - a few silly mistakes like this can be found throughout. Truman the rejection of the Potsdam Declaration was a major part of the final decision.History. In his personal summary Stimson details his own personal views on the issue and his own rationalization. ‘’My chief purpose was to end the war in victory with the least possible cost in the lives of the men in the armies which I had helped to raise.’’ While describing it as the ‘’least abhorrent choice’’. Throughout the article Stimson displays obvious bias NEVER USE THIS WORD IN A HISTORY EXTENSION ESSAY. Sorry to be so forceful, but you will get roasted for something like this. In history extension you learn that ALL SOURCES ARE BIASED, so just saying "obvious bias" is a moot point. Though I love that you are going into more historiography now, you need to go beyond this type of thinking - analyse the bias, critically assess it's significance, what is supports, what it neglects, how it was formed - don't just tell me it exists, because, I know it exists. and exhibits that the American justification was the rejection of the Potsdam declaration and to limit the causalities. Stimson wrote this article to influence public perception and validate the reasoning of both Truman and Stimson. This again needs to be explored more than context (however even then I'm sure there are a lot better historiographical concepts out there for you to explore that go beyond just motive) It is evident that the arguments and views presented by Stimson align heavily to those of orthodox historians such as Robert Maddox. FINALLY A HISTORIAN! More please  :)

Historian Robert Maddox adopts an empirical approach, preferring to use official government documents and similar sources to form arguments there is more to empiricism than just the sources they use - objectivity?. Maddox argues that evidence from an empirical standpoint indicates President Truman had ‘’no other viable or sensible alternative to dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki’’. Maddox rejects suggestions that top advisors urged Truman not to use the bomb, based on their ‘’moral and military reservations”. Maddox interprets the records officials such as Truman and Stimson and makes his own source of history thats a weird way of putting it - rather than 'own source of history' maybe interpretation? Forms his own perspective? from these records. Maddox is responsible for writing a detailed article expressing his insights and opinions in his piece  ‘’The Biggest Decision: Why We Had To Drop The Atomic Bomb.’’ 

Maddox debuts arguments provided by more annales historians and in doing aims to deliver more credibility into his own response. Why does this make him more credible?? Also - fix up this sentence, it reads a bit strange. Maddox dismisses the use of The United States Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS ) stating that this ‘’This or any other document based on information available only after the war ended is irrelevant with regard to what Truman could have known at the time.’’ Maddox concludes his article by stating  ‘’Available evidence points to the conclusion that he acted for the reason he said he did: to end a bloody war that would have become far bloodier had invasion proved necessary.’’ Through the empirical evidence used by Maddox he comes to the conclusion that Truman achieved his objectives and is justified in his reasoning in the dropping of the bombs. This is strongly contrasted by the views of annalist historians.

Again, you are just listing interpretations. Where is your own voice/judgement/opinion?

Interpretations of the atomic bombings are constantly changing due to new evidence, personal bias and changing societal values thus correlating to many different approaches and sentiments towards the issue. MUST BETTER! You need to clean up the sentence a bit, and maybe make a more explicit link to the concepts (Also don't say bias) but overall this is a stronger opening sentence. This is seen through historical revisionism. Yay a concept! Historical revisionism identifies the re-interpretation of the historical record. It usually means challenging the orthodox views held by professional scholars about an event, introducing new evidence, or restating the motivations and decisions of participants. So much better - requires integration, but still so much better. This is identified through the writings of Paul Ham and Gar Alperovitz, revisionist historians who contradict the statements of Harry Truman regarding justification of the nuclear attacks. The United States’ Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS) provides a pivotal source for revisionist historians, providing the base for their arguments. The USSBS stated that based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders, it is the Survey's opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November,

Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.


Gar Alperovitz, centralized around the fact that Japan was on the brink of surrendering before the bombs were dropped. Grammar and sentence structure needs work. He argues that even after the there were. Again - grammar and sentence structure. An author who backs up "backs up" is too colloquial - "is supported by" is better the claims from Paul Ham is. GRAMMAR. Alperovitz’s work takes an annalist approach that reviews all the surrounding factors such as economic and social ones "ones" again too casual. "He takes into account the surrounding economic and social factors," is better while also using a range of sources by range what do you mean? Just lots of sources, sources from a lot of different perspectives? Different source types? Be specific.. Alperovitz centres his argument on the common misconceptions held by the American public:

What is important is whether, when the bomb was used, the President and his top advisers understood that it was not required to avoid a long and costly invasion, as they later claimed and as most Americans still believe.

Alperovitz declares that American public understanding of the attacks is entirely based on what the government disclosed. And what affect does this have? He disputes the fact that the bombs were dropped for the sole purpose of stopping an American invasion of the Japanese home islands and therefore reducing the numbers of American casualties, a position held by orthodox historians and most of the American public. Alperovitz then discusses his reasoning behind why the US dropped the bombs and the statement that forms the basis of his arguments in different publications. ‘Truman and his advisors saw this bomb as a diplomatic lever’’. While Gar Alperovitz makes a variety of different arguments regarding the use of nuclear warfare, it is clear that Alperovitz possess a strong hatred. Thus creating a sense of bias NOPE in his work and evidently by paraphrasing quotes therefore selecting sources that benefit and enhance his argument is that not what all the other historians are doing though? Do you really think that the other historians are reading everything? Or are they actively looking for sources that back up their arguments? Look into EH Carr's fishing analogy in 'What is History?'.. This selection of sources is of course necessary for Alperovitz to educate readers of what he believes and showing them his purpose in doing so.

In a later interview Gar DON'T USE FIRST NAMES. further supports his position by stating:

‘’Truman and his Secretary of State, James F. Byrnes, were struck by the notion that ending World War II without dropping the atomic bomb would not have brought added strength to American diplomacy against the Soviet Union in Europe.’’

Alperovitz use of interview provides him with the opportunity to be able to change his approach and concept. However, he takes his chance to strengthen his argument and be able to present his argument and findings in a number of platforms. The notion of diplomatic lever is one common among annalist history.  Paul Ham demonstrates this line of thought in Hiroshima Nagasaki. Ham delves into the numerous complications that forced the Japanese Empire into surrendering while discussing how the nuclear attacks were militarily unnecessary. Paul Ham discusses his purpose in creating his source of history in an interview. ‘I have always felt that there is something wrong with American narratives that attempt to justify the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in a nuclear holocaust.’ But where is your own voice? What is your opinion upon these different interpretations? Do you notice any patterns? Links?

Ham’s work may be perceived to draw upon Annalist, Empiricist and postmodernist historiography. Awesome! Hiroshima Nagasaki goes in-depth of of? grammar. the social impacts of the attacks while also looking at the different factors that caused the Japanese to withdraw from World War Two. I really recommend looking at these two concepts:
Bottom Up History/Social History and 'Orientalism' by Edward Said. The girl from my school who did this question used Said a lot, along with Howard Zinn.
He states that following the Potsdam Conference Tokyo initially pinned its hopes on diplomacy with the Soviets, hoping that they might water down the American demand for unconditional surrender. Once their hopes were dashed, the two factors that motivated their surrender to the Americans were, on the one hand, “the regime’s suffocating fear of Russia” and “the spectre of a communist Japan” and, on the other, the American guarantee that the status of the emperor in a post-war Japan would be preserved, delivered in the so-called ‘’Byrnes Note’’ after the attacks. Paul Ham’s conclusion is that the most essential factor in the Japanese surrender was Stalin’s sudden entry into war in the pacific. The threat of one million troops invading into Japanese territory delivered in Ham’s opinion the deciding factor in the surrender. As Ham states ‘The Japanese people had kept their Emperor and lost an empire.’ Where is the postmodernists? Did you mention them? Or the other two? If so it definitely wasn't obvious enough.

The distinction between the conclusions formed by the orthodox historians and revionists displays the true extent of the differing views on the same issue demonstrating how different approaches to history can lead to extremely different conclusion. Through recording and construction of history it is evident that the orthodox and revionist historians have strongly contrasting views. Thus, it is necessary to research more blended approaches to history. The blended approach of history allows for one more rounded argument while trying to avoid bias. But it can't? Bias is unavoidable. I'm really hoping that you rip this method to shreds.

A more blended approach to the issue is demonstrated in the work of J. Samuel Walker in his world-renowned book ‘’Prompt and utter destruction’’. He strives to provide an un-biased account. However it is almost impossible in history to create a truly non-bias piece of work YES YES YES YES YES, J. Samuel Walker attempts to deliver an unbiased account of the true reasons for the atomic bombings. Sentence structure - you lost me. You started off so strong, but it fell weak at the end. J. Samuel Walker is an American historian who also blends the accounts of both empirical sources but other social factors that contributed to the dropping of the bombs. He provides his attitudes and views in his publication ‘Prompt and utter destruction.’ You've already mentioned this. Walker’s arguments corresponds with that of revionist history as he states "the hope that the bomb would help advance American diplomatic objectives, especially in addressing the growing differences with the Soviet Union’  and ‘’The evidence suggests, in fact, that Truman and other American leaders began to act more assertive toward the Soviet Union once they learned details of the bomb's power.’’   except that if he is trying to provide an objective account then he is also align with the empircists - that's kinda their thing.Walker provides a concise argument in his hundred word publication and provides his finding:

‘The bomb was necessary to end the war at the earliest possible moment. The bomb was necessary to save the lives of American troops, perhaps numbering in the several thousands. The bomb was probably not necessary to end the war within a fairly short time without an invasion of Japan. The bomb was not necessary to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of American troops.’’  Walker’s findings offer distinguishing response but ultimately debunks not a word you should be using in history extension - too casual. the prominent arguments offered by the empirical and more orthodox historians. Walker does not assert that he has reached the answer to the long-winded debate as he concludes his publication "The decision to use atomic bombs against Japan was such a momentous event in bringing about the end of World War II and in shaping the postwar world that it should continue to be studied, evaluated, and debated  and "The issue of whether the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were sound, proper, and justifiable actions must be approached by fully considering the situation facing American and Japanese leaders in the summer of 1945 and by banishing the myths that have taken hold since then."  As seen through the conclusive statements Walker believes that the issue is one of continuance and one that needs to be further researched.

The debate surrounding the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been one of the most controversial subjects in the modern world. There is a strong distinction between the reasoning of Truman, Stimson and Maddox who use empirical sources to provide a more orthodox history and the revionist historians. The revionist historians utilize an annalist type school of history to strive to provide a history relying on the social factors as well as the empirical resources. This is portrayed through the sources of history provided by Alperovitz and Ham who offer similarly conclusions based on the their annalist style. The blending of both sides is demonstrated through the publication of J. Samuel Walker who offers a conclusion based on his in depth study of the potential reasons used by the Americans. The comparison between  the different schools of history is expected as the possess different ways in approaching history thus providing different records and construction of history. 

Okay so, I'm going to be 100% honest with you here, because this is your HSC and I'm assuming you didn't ask for feedback in order to get a sugar coated response. This needs a lot of work. As I have suggested throughout my feedback, for a significant chunk of your essay you are writing history, and not historiography - providing me an account of the events, and the opinions of key figures. Though this improves as the essay progresses, once you reach the more "historiography" part, it is more of a description of the different interpretations, a list of opinions, rather than an analysis. I NEED to see YOUR OWN judgement shining through, or else you are essentially just writing the history of historiography.

I know this is probably not what you want to here, but you need a knew structure - potentially a new question. Now please don't freak out - you can keep much of your research the same, and the general topic. However, rather than including Hiroshima and Nagasaki as part of the question, I suggest that you instead use them as a case study to demonstrate a wider historiographical concept (as "different interpretations" is a bit too broad". The concepts were severely lacking in your response, when they are what should really be shining through. Scroll down and have a read of my response to Maraos' first question from today on the History Extension Question Thread. Covers pretty much exactly what I intend to say here.

Historiography - you need WAY more of it. It's not enough to just list historians who have an opinion on your topic. Go broader and look at historiographers. It actually looks better to use the concepts and ideas that they formulate, and you yourself attach them and demonstrate their significance though the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing. I'd also suggest integrating your sources and quotes better, they break up the essay too much, making it difficult to read and understand coherently.

Along with this - Grammar and sentence structure was really pulling you down in some parts, along with language choices. This may seem like a small thing, but it is actually really important in order to maintain a level of sophistication required to do well.

I think this covers everything I was thinking! I really hope I didn't come across too harsh, but in the end I figured it's important that you know rather than I sugar coat things and you end up with a lower mark than you are capable of - because I know that you are more than capable of pulling off a fantastic response! Just tweak some things and pack in those historiographical concepts and you'll be laughing! If you need any help with anything, or are still confused please let me know.

Susie  :)
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damecj

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Re: History Extension Essay Marking Thread
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2017, 07:12:24 am »
Hey damecj! Sure thing :) My comments are in the spoiler below!!

Spoiler
Evaluate the differing reasoning between schools of history in the justification of the use of nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki A girl in my class did pretty much the exact same question! This isn't feedback haha just random coincidence lol

The nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August 1945 respectively were the first uses of nuclear weaponry in history. Your first sentences is setting this essay up to be a history essay and not a historiography essay! Think more broadly - what is the greater, historiographical issue that you are assessing? You need to make a judgement with your first sentence, NOT provide context. Then United States President Harry Truman made the decision to use nuclear technology in wartime again still waiting for the historiography - 2 sentences in and I'm still looking at a recount of the events - remember that this is EXTENSION not modern history (even in modern you'll want to be making your first sentence a judgement however). The history surrounding bombings is one based highly on interpretation, which is demonstrated through the differing views of schools of history. Better - this is historiography. If anything this should have been your first sentence! However I want more - everything is based on interpretation. As EH Carr said, "interpretation is the lifeblood of history" - what makes Hiroshima and Nagasaki any different? Why should I care that this is an interpretation, if I know that all history is an interpretation? I think your argument needs to be stronger and more unique. Harry Truman the President Truman and Henry Stimson his advisor provide pivotal historiography not sure historiography is the best word to use here - that'd imply that they wrote history. 'Evidence' is probably better for the empirical and orthodox don't like the use of the term orthodox here - I don't think empiricist = orthodox historians such as Robert Maddox. The historians that display a more annales brand of history such as Paul Ham and Gar Alperovitz aim to provide an account more based on the social factors so... social history? Mention the bottom-up approach!, It is important however to consider the blended approaches of the bombings, this is seen through the work of Tsuyoshi Hasegawa a Japanese historian who provides a combined study that proposes to provided a non-bias account of events proposes - but does she actually? Surely not. Hopefully you rip them to shreds  ;) The different is this an unfinished sentence?.

All
Historians largely accept the context of the historiographical debates surrounding the decision to use nuclear weapons. Bold statement - you need to back this up, at least through footnotes. Truman was aware of the success of the Manhattan Project: the development of the world’s first nuclear bomb. Writing in his diaries on 17 June 1945, Truman recorded:

I have to decide Japanese strategy - shall we invade Japan proper or shall we bomb and blockade? That is my hardest decision to date. But I'll make it when I have all the facts.

Truman knew the gravity of the decision that he was making and was aware of the power he had. This is looking like a history essay.On 25 July, Truman talked about his plans to end the war, stating that Stimson “and I are in accord. The target will be a purely military one and we will issue a warning statement”, the Potsdam Proclamation, “asking the Japanese to surrender and save lives”. The American leader continued:

I'm sure they will not do that, but we will have given them the chance. It seems to be the most terrible thing ever discovered, but it can be made the most useful.

History essay - you're writing a history essay. I'll elaborate more on this in my final comments, but to stop this I suggest using Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a case study rather than the dominating question. You'll still mainly be talking about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, just by broadening your scope you are allowing yourself more opportunity to delve into the historiographical concepts!

Truman acknowledged the power of the bombs, possibly the most crucial element in ending the war. The Potsdam Proclamation was a crucial factor in Truman’s decision.. History essay. The declaration stated thirteen terms focused around the Japanese surrender, clearly stating that “the alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction”. These terms reinforced Truman’s later statement:

We have used it in order to shorten the agony of young Americans. We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan's power to make war. Only a Japanese surrender will stop us.

It is pivotal in looking at the bombings to look at the reports made by Henry Stimson. Henry Stimson was the Secretary of War during the time of the atomic bomb as he had direct personal control of the project. Better, but still not enough historiography. Stimson was in charge of all the steps in the bombings and was pivotal in the verdict to eventually drop the bombs. Stimson was the main advisor to the president in the dropping of the bomb and directly advised the President on the issue. Last two sentences = history essay, and were also quite repetitive.  Stimson wrote ‘’The Decision to use the Atomic Bomb’’ in February of 1947 in Harper’s Magazine. He was coming under increasing pressure for his decision from highly respected public figures and the article aims to justify in his reasoning in dropping the bomb.Go into this more. This is historiography - motive! Identically to Harry Truman the motivation according to Stimson was the

‘’Premier of Japan, Suzuki, rejected the Potsdam ultimatum by announcing that was “unworthy of public notice.” In the face of this rejection we could only proceed to demonstrate that the ultimatum had meant exactly what it said.’’

At present you are just listing interpretations to me. I need you to analyse. Also - what is your structure? It's not clear.

Indicating that like the reasoning for from? Check grammar - a few silly mistakes like this can be found throughout. Truman the rejection of the Potsdam Declaration was a major part of the final decision.History. In his personal summary Stimson details his own personal views on the issue and his own rationalization. ‘’My chief purpose was to end the war in victory with the least possible cost in the lives of the men in the armies which I had helped to raise.’’ While describing it as the ‘’least abhorrent choice’’. Throughout the article Stimson displays obvious bias NEVER USE THIS WORD IN A HISTORY EXTENSION ESSAY. Sorry to be so forceful, but you will get roasted for something like this. In history extension you learn that ALL SOURCES ARE BIASED, so just saying "obvious bias" is a moot point. Though I love that you are going into more historiography now, you need to go beyond this type of thinking - analyse the bias, critically assess it's significance, what is supports, what it neglects, how it was formed - don't just tell me it exists, because, I know it exists. and exhibits that the American justification was the rejection of the Potsdam declaration and to limit the causalities. Stimson wrote this article to influence public perception and validate the reasoning of both Truman and Stimson. This again needs to be explored more than context (however even then I'm sure there are a lot better historiographical concepts out there for you to explore that go beyond just motive) It is evident that the arguments and views presented by Stimson align heavily to those of orthodox historians such as Robert Maddox. FINALLY A HISTORIAN! More please  :)

Historian Robert Maddox adopts an empirical approach, preferring to use official government documents and similar sources to form arguments there is more to empiricism than just the sources they use - objectivity?. Maddox argues that evidence from an empirical standpoint indicates President Truman had ‘’no other viable or sensible alternative to dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki’’. Maddox rejects suggestions that top advisors urged Truman not to use the bomb, based on their ‘’moral and military reservations”. Maddox interprets the records officials such as Truman and Stimson and makes his own source of history thats a weird way of putting it - rather than 'own source of history' maybe interpretation? Forms his own perspective? from these records. Maddox is responsible for writing a detailed article expressing his insights and opinions in his piece  ‘’The Biggest Decision: Why We Had To Drop The Atomic Bomb.’’ 

Maddox debuts arguments provided by more annales historians and in doing aims to deliver more credibility into his own response. Why does this make him more credible?? Also - fix up this sentence, it reads a bit strange. Maddox dismisses the use of The United States Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS ) stating that this ‘’This or any other document based on information available only after the war ended is irrelevant with regard to what Truman could have known at the time.’’ Maddox concludes his article by stating  ‘’Available evidence points to the conclusion that he acted for the reason he said he did: to end a bloody war that would have become far bloodier had invasion proved necessary.’’ Through the empirical evidence used by Maddox he comes to the conclusion that Truman achieved his objectives and is justified in his reasoning in the dropping of the bombs. This is strongly contrasted by the views of annalist historians.

Again, you are just listing interpretations. Where is your own voice/judgement/opinion?

Interpretations of the atomic bombings are constantly changing due to new evidence, personal bias and changing societal values thus correlating to many different approaches and sentiments towards the issue. MUST BETTER! You need to clean up the sentence a bit, and maybe make a more explicit link to the concepts (Also don't say bias) but overall this is a stronger opening sentence. This is seen through historical revisionism. Yay a concept! Historical revisionism identifies the re-interpretation of the historical record. It usually means challenging the orthodox views held by professional scholars about an event, introducing new evidence, or restating the motivations and decisions of participants. So much better - requires integration, but still so much better. This is identified through the writings of Paul Ham and Gar Alperovitz, revisionist historians who contradict the statements of Harry Truman regarding justification of the nuclear attacks. The United States’ Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS) provides a pivotal source for revisionist historians, providing the base for their arguments. The USSBS stated that based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders, it is the Survey's opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November,

Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.


Gar Alperovitz, centralized around the fact that Japan was on the brink of surrendering before the bombs were dropped. Grammar and sentence structure needs work. He argues that even after the there were. Again - grammar and sentence structure. An author who backs up "backs up" is too colloquial - "is supported by" is better the claims from Paul Ham is. GRAMMAR. Alperovitz’s work takes an annalist approach that reviews all the surrounding factors such as economic and social ones "ones" again too casual. "He takes into account the surrounding economic and social factors," is better while also using a range of sources by range what do you mean? Just lots of sources, sources from a lot of different perspectives? Different source types? Be specific.. Alperovitz centres his argument on the common misconceptions held by the American public:

What is important is whether, when the bomb was used, the President and his top advisers understood that it was not required to avoid a long and costly invasion, as they later claimed and as most Americans still believe.

Alperovitz declares that American public understanding of the attacks is entirely based on what the government disclosed. And what affect does this have? He disputes the fact that the bombs were dropped for the sole purpose of stopping an American invasion of the Japanese home islands and therefore reducing the numbers of American casualties, a position held by orthodox historians and most of the American public. Alperovitz then discusses his reasoning behind why the US dropped the bombs and the statement that forms the basis of his arguments in different publications. ‘Truman and his advisors saw this bomb as a diplomatic lever’’. While Gar Alperovitz makes a variety of different arguments regarding the use of nuclear warfare, it is clear that Alperovitz possess a strong hatred. Thus creating a sense of bias NOPE in his work and evidently by paraphrasing quotes therefore selecting sources that benefit and enhance his argument is that not what all the other historians are doing though? Do you really think that the other historians are reading everything? Or are they actively looking for sources that back up their arguments? Look into EH Carr's fishing analogy in 'What is History?'.. This selection of sources is of course necessary for Alperovitz to educate readers of what he believes and showing them his purpose in doing so.

In a later interview Gar DON'T USE FIRST NAMES. further supports his position by stating:

‘’Truman and his Secretary of State, James F. Byrnes, were struck by the notion that ending World War II without dropping the atomic bomb would not have brought added strength to American diplomacy against the Soviet Union in Europe.’’

Alperovitz use of interview provides him with the opportunity to be able to change his approach and concept. However, he takes his chance to strengthen his argument and be able to present his argument and findings in a number of platforms. The notion of diplomatic lever is one common among annalist history.  Paul Ham demonstrates this line of thought in Hiroshima Nagasaki. Ham delves into the numerous complications that forced the Japanese Empire into surrendering while discussing how the nuclear attacks were militarily unnecessary. Paul Ham discusses his purpose in creating his source of history in an interview. ‘I have always felt that there is something wrong with American narratives that attempt to justify the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in a nuclear holocaust.’ But where is your own voice? What is your opinion upon these different interpretations? Do you notice any patterns? Links?

Ham’s work may be perceived to draw upon Annalist, Empiricist and postmodernist historiography. Awesome! Hiroshima Nagasaki goes in-depth of of? grammar. the social impacts of the attacks while also looking at the different factors that caused the Japanese to withdraw from World War Two. I really recommend looking at these two concepts:
Bottom Up History/Social History and 'Orientalism' by Edward Said. The girl from my school who did this question used Said a lot, along with Howard Zinn.
He states that following the Potsdam Conference Tokyo initially pinned its hopes on diplomacy with the Soviets, hoping that they might water down the American demand for unconditional surrender. Once their hopes were dashed, the two factors that motivated their surrender to the Americans were, on the one hand, “the regime’s suffocating fear of Russia” and “the spectre of a communist Japan” and, on the other, the American guarantee that the status of the emperor in a post-war Japan would be preserved, delivered in the so-called ‘’Byrnes Note’’ after the attacks. Paul Ham’s conclusion is that the most essential factor in the Japanese surrender was Stalin’s sudden entry into war in the pacific. The threat of one million troops invading into Japanese territory delivered in Ham’s opinion the deciding factor in the surrender. As Ham states ‘The Japanese people had kept their Emperor and lost an empire.’ Where is the postmodernists? Did you mention them? Or the other two? If so it definitely wasn't obvious enough.

The distinction between the conclusions formed by the orthodox historians and revionists displays the true extent of the differing views on the same issue demonstrating how different approaches to history can lead to extremely different conclusion. Through recording and construction of history it is evident that the orthodox and revionist historians have strongly contrasting views. Thus, it is necessary to research more blended approaches to history. The blended approach of history allows for one more rounded argument while trying to avoid bias. But it can't? Bias is unavoidable. I'm really hoping that you rip this method to shreds.

A more blended approach to the issue is demonstrated in the work of J. Samuel Walker in his world-renowned book ‘’Prompt and utter destruction’’. He strives to provide an un-biased account. However it is almost impossible in history to create a truly non-bias piece of work YES YES YES YES YES, J. Samuel Walker attempts to deliver an unbiased account of the true reasons for the atomic bombings. Sentence structure - you lost me. You started off so strong, but it fell weak at the end. J. Samuel Walker is an American historian who also blends the accounts of both empirical sources but other social factors that contributed to the dropping of the bombs. He provides his attitudes and views in his publication ‘Prompt and utter destruction.’ You've already mentioned this. Walker’s arguments corresponds with that of revionist history as he states "the hope that the bomb would help advance American diplomatic objectives, especially in addressing the growing differences with the Soviet Union’  and ‘’The evidence suggests, in fact, that Truman and other American leaders began to act more assertive toward the Soviet Union once they learned details of the bomb's power.’’   except that if he is trying to provide an objective account then he is also align with the empircists - that's kinda their thing.Walker provides a concise argument in his hundred word publication and provides his finding:

‘The bomb was necessary to end the war at the earliest possible moment. The bomb was necessary to save the lives of American troops, perhaps numbering in the several thousands. The bomb was probably not necessary to end the war within a fairly short time without an invasion of Japan. The bomb was not necessary to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of American troops.’’  Walker’s findings offer distinguishing response but ultimately debunks not a word you should be using in history extension - too casual. the prominent arguments offered by the empirical and more orthodox historians. Walker does not assert that he has reached the answer to the long-winded debate as he concludes his publication "The decision to use atomic bombs against Japan was such a momentous event in bringing about the end of World War II and in shaping the postwar world that it should continue to be studied, evaluated, and debated  and "The issue of whether the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were sound, proper, and justifiable actions must be approached by fully considering the situation facing American and Japanese leaders in the summer of 1945 and by banishing the myths that have taken hold since then."  As seen through the conclusive statements Walker believes that the issue is one of continuance and one that needs to be further researched.

The debate surrounding the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been one of the most controversial subjects in the modern world. There is a strong distinction between the reasoning of Truman, Stimson and Maddox who use empirical sources to provide a more orthodox history and the revionist historians. The revionist historians utilize an annalist type school of history to strive to provide a history relying on the social factors as well as the empirical resources. This is portrayed through the sources of history provided by Alperovitz and Ham who offer similarly conclusions based on the their annalist style. The blending of both sides is demonstrated through the publication of J. Samuel Walker who offers a conclusion based on his in depth study of the potential reasons used by the Americans. The comparison between  the different schools of history is expected as the possess different ways in approaching history thus providing different records and construction of history. 

Okay so, I'm going to be 100% honest with you here, because this is your HSC and I'm assuming you didn't ask for feedback in order to get a sugar coated response. This needs a lot of work. As I have suggested throughout my feedback, for a significant chunk of your essay you are writing history, and not historiography - providing me an account of the events, and the opinions of key figures. Though this improves as the essay progresses, once you reach the more "historiography" part, it is more of a description of the different interpretations, a list of opinions, rather than an analysis. I NEED to see YOUR OWN judgement shining through, or else you are essentially just writing the history of historiography.

I know this is probably not what you want to here, but you need a knew structure - potentially a new question. Now please don't freak out - you can keep much of your research the same, and the general topic. However, rather than including Hiroshima and Nagasaki as part of the question, I suggest that you instead use them as a case study to demonstrate a wider historiographical concept (as "different interpretations" is a bit too broad". The concepts were severely lacking in your response, when they are what should really be shining through. Scroll down and have a read of my response to Maraos' first question from today on the History Extension Question Thread. Covers pretty much exactly what I intend to say here.

Historiography - you need WAY more of it. It's not enough to just list historians who have an opinion on your topic. Go broader and look at historiographers. It actually looks better to use the concepts and ideas that they formulate, and you yourself attach them and demonstrate their significance though the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing. I'd also suggest integrating your sources and quotes better, they break up the essay too much, making it difficult to read and understand coherently.

Along with this - Grammar and sentence structure was really pulling you down in some parts, along with language choices. This may seem like a small thing, but it is actually really important in order to maintain a level of sophistication required to do well.

I think this covers everything I was thinking! I really hope I didn't come across too harsh, but in the end I figured it's important that you know rather than I sugar coat things and you end up with a lower mark than you are capable of - because I know that you are more than capable of pulling off a fantastic response! Just tweak some things and pack in those historiographical concepts and you'll be laughing! If you need any help with anything, or are still confused please let me know.

Susie  :)


Thank you very much, this is very helpful

sudodds

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Re: History Extension Essay Marking Thread
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2017, 09:55:17 am »

Thank you very much, this is very helpful
So glad you found it useful! :) Good luck! Let me know if you need anything :)
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Re: History Extension Essay Marking Thread
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2017, 12:01:31 am »
Hi Susie, absolutely any feedback would be immmensely appreciated !! Thank you so much in advance :D

Spoiler
There are innumerable paths in the pursuit for historical truth. Historical works that combine analytical and imaginative history demonstrate how the democratisation of history has allowed for the contribution of interdisciplinary methodologies to contemporary historical thought. Subsequently, historians have transcended their obligation to empirical evidence and scientific method, and pursue new forms of history in the revision of traditional perspectives. The use of imaginative re-enactment in historical works infers the opportunity to “add an imaginative dimension that allows the work to speak to the whole persona and the emotional dimensions of the reader, not only to the intellectual or the rational faculties”. Simon Schama’s claim that “Without a grip on evidence, the historical novel is empty fable; without imaginative empathy, history is all bones and no flesh and blood” also articulates that the collaboration between science and fiction has the potential to enhance the insights of historiographical endeavors. Hence, fiction through the use of the historian’s imagination can, to a large extent, be used as a legitimate historiographical tool.

Historiographical debate relating to the reliability of fiction in history highlights an imperative tension between science and art. The supposedly paradoxical use of imaginary scenarios, which are subjective by nature, in a historian’s endeavour to portray a nonpartisan, reliable history suggests that fiction inherently contradicts the laws of historical investigation. This beckons the question: is the reliability of fictional renditions of history inevitably compromised? Popular productions of historical fiction such as Braveheart, Pearl Harbour and Disney’s Pocahontas have cultivated heavy criticism from the historical community due to their portrayals of the past that have “almost totally sacrificed historical accuracy for epic adventure”, reiterating the potential dangers of pioneering histories for the entertainment of vast public audiences. Such texts invite debate about being termed either as historical fiction or ‘fictionalised history’, suggesting that their misleading portrayals of the past obscure public historical thought. For example, Peter Weir’s 1981 film Gallipoli demonstrates this through its perpetration of the ANZAC legend. The historiography of the ANZAC legend has been defined by a chauvinistic portrayal of Australian soldiers likened to Arcadian warriors and of British officials as antagonists who ‘drank tea on the beach’ during the failed Gallipoli offensive in World War II. Weir encourages this narrative of national history in the film through the manipulation of historical events with a creative license, consequently engendering parochial mindsets about the war to a broad public audience, as Australia historian Peter Cochrane claims, “Drape “Anzac” over an argument and, like a magic cloak, the argument is sacrosanct”. This indicates the dangers of creative freedom in contributions to historical thought, as such works could compromise the reliability of historiographical research. Hence, this evokes discussion about whether or not fiction, which is innately a historian’s own invention, can have any contribution to valid historiography.

It would be overly simplistic to conclude that all historical fiction is innately unreliable and that its contributions to contemporary historical thought are invalid. This argument made a significant emergence after David Starkey’s remark from 2013:

"We really should stop taking historical novelists seriously as historians. The idea that they have authority is ludicrous. They are very good at imagining character: that’s why the novels sell. They have no authority when it comes to the handling of historical sources. Full stop.”

This statement was made in reference to Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, which documents the rise of Thomas Cromwell in the court of King Henry VIII and has been acclaimed as one of the best historical novels of all time. Mantel’s claim “I step aside form all pretenses of accuracy and authenticity” refutes Starkey’s critique as she separates the role of the novelist from that of the historian, yet her statement “That my novels are set in the sixteenth century does not mean I am trying to describe the century accurately; it means I am searching for meanings in human experience that are common to both times, and thus timeless, and have resonance in all our lives” also indicates the distinct contribution that fiction offers to historical thought, which is the opportunity to revise traditional perspectives through imaginative empathy.

Imaginative empathy refers to a historian’s capacity to make judgments about the past and historical figures by ‘stepping into their shoes’, since something as complex and multifaceted as the human experience cannot be entirely comprehended through statistical evidence and scientific method. This notion is explored in R.G. Collingwood’s ‘The Idea of History’ (1946), which challenges the methodology of positivist philosophers by suggesting that history cannot be understood along narrow scientific terms, since historical knowledge is not rooted in a theoretical model. Rather, he explains that “all history is the history of thought (…) and therefore all history is the re-enactment of past thought in the historian’s own mind”, inferring that history is by necessity a product of philosophical thought and imaginative reconstruction, relying on fictional prospects to gain full insight into an event in question. This historiographical evolution is inextricably linked to the emergence of postmodernism in the mid to late 20th century, following a period where philosophy favoured various metanarratives of progress such as positivist science and Marxism. In a sociological view, postmodernism is ascribed to wider communication and the ability to abandon standardized mass production, indicating how the accessibility of telecommunications and popular culture in modern society has evolved the nature of historiographical studies. Ultimately, this transformation of society and historiography due to postmodernism infers the gradual disappearance of Rankean-style empiricism, as new historical methodologies such as imaginative reenactment will become more prominent and play an influential role in historiography.

Furthermore, postmodernist historians such as Hayden White similarly argue that the historian’s imagination inevitably plays a fundamental role in their construction of history, “as historical text is in essence nothing more than a literary text, a poetic creation as deeply involved in the imagination as the novel”. By suggesting that all historical works embody the same ‘novelisation’ of the past as historical fiction by using imaginative re-enactment, this notion challenges critics such as David Starkey who accentuate the invalidity of historical novels. White’s ‘Metahistory’ (1973) imbues the need for narrative to shape historical fact through the concept of ‘emplotment’, which explains that all historical works adhere to a style of literary culture such as romance, tragedy or satire. White reinforces the postmodernist perspective that the past is not recoverable beyond text, and hence indicates that a historian’s construction of history is an imaginative reenactment, grounded in evidence, but failing to capture the authentic entirety of the past. Thus, as historians have noted, “Metahistory reflected a shift of emphasis from an unqualified freedom of the imagination to linguistic modes through which that imagination defines what counts as real history”. Thus, the legitimacy of fiction as a historiographical tool is fortified by the necessity to engage with a historian’s imagination in all historical works.

The importance of a historian’s use of imaginative empathy is demonstrated by the historiography of Anne Boleyn. Characterised by a vast spectrum of interpretations, the life – and in particular the enigmatic death – of King Henry VIII’s second wife reveals how the novelisation of historical figures has evolved over time with a greater emphasis on imaginative empathy. The timeless intrigue of Anne Boleyn’s rise and fall in historical fiction indicates her status as one of the most divisive figures of history, having accumulated a wide range of portrayals over time including that of a maleficent home-wrecker, a Protestant martyr, a tragic heroine and even a witch. Within this, it becomes evident that a lack of imaginative empathy has constructed and continuously reconstructed the historiography of Anne Boleyn, as “what remains is a patched together narrative that variously reflects the biases of staunch enemies or idealising rehabilitators of her image”. Reinforcing this tradition of prevalent bias, the illustration of Anne Boleyn by an English Catholic Priest, Nicholas Sanders, describes “a projecting tooth under the upper lip, and on her right hand six fingers”. This portrayal would henceforth lay the foundation for an enduring image of Anne Boleyn as a villainous character, translated in contemporary works such as Philippa Gregory’s popular historical novel ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ (2001). Irrespective of her claim that historical accuracy is the hallmark of her writing, Gregory’ work has been critiqued within the historical community for depicting in the novel that Anne was guilty of the charges of adultery, treason and incest, which led to her execution in 1536. This storyline neglects an abundance of evidence reiterating that Anne was innocent of her charges, and was framed to eliminate her as a threat to Henry’s plans for religion in England or alternatively because she was unable to produce a male heir. This brings the validity of historical imagination into question through the notion that it allows narratives to manipulate historiography, particularly in endeavors for entertainment at the cost of reliable judgment. However, imaginative empathy also has the potential to counteract the development of such narratives, such as through works about Anne Boleyn that aim to “to restore a restless, learned, freethinking and ambitious but nondemonic woman to the throne of the public imagination”.

Susan Bordo’s ‘The Creation of Anne Boleyn’ is an amalgamation of cultural history and biography that highlights the way in which Anne’s historiography has drastically evolved over time, culminating in a lack of clarity about her true character. Aiming to strip away the “sedimented mythology turned into ‘history’ by decades of repetition”, Bordo represents the efforts of many historians and feminist philosophers with ambitions to revive images of King Henry VIII’s six wives through imaginative empathy. The common rhetoric of “divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived” characterises the dominating narrative of Henry VIII’s six consorts, whereby they are all traditionally defined by the way their lives ended rather than how they were lived. However, this notion is deconstructed and refuted by one of the earliest full-length novelisations of Anne Boleyn’s life, ‘The Favor of Kings’ (1912). Challenging traditional historiography’s selective perceptions of Anne Boleyn through lenses of villainy or martyrdom, the author Mary Hastings Bradley asserted her commitment to “actual situations . . . real incident, and dialogue” and a fundamental purpose to not “enter an historical controversy” but rather “to suggest the truth of the colours of the picture I have tried to paint, and to offer the Anne Boleyn of this story, a very human girl”. Bradley’s use of imaginative empathy in an appeal to the fundamental ‘human experience’ aspects of history is imbued by her venture into the unexplored areas of Anne’s childhood and development as a young woman. Bradley comprehends Anne’s self-autonomy and salient nonconforming attitude, as informed by testimonial evidence of her personality, by imagining her thoughts. This use of imaginative empathy deviates from the oversimplifications of Anne as either a formidable villainess or an impotent heroine, and introduces a more intricate depiction that appeals to the intrinsic ‘humanness’ and emotional complexity of Anne as an individual. Therefore, fiction can be used as a legitimate historiographical tool to comprehend the quintessential nature of human experience in history.

The distinctions between historical novelists and historians have been blurred through their shared purpose to “seek out stories from the past, engage with them creatively, sort and interrogate them, pull them into some kind of narrative shape and interpret them for readers.” An example of these fundamental similarities is imbued in works of social history, such as those by historians Simon Schama and E.P. Thompson. Social history, as the gateway between current and past human experience used to challenge top-down history, enables historians to reimagine the past and fill in the gaps of the historical record. Simon Schama’s ‘Dead Certainties’ (1991) emerges as a prominent work of history that incorporates a narrative style and imagined scenarios, which are fundamentally advised by archival sources and Schama’s experience in historical analysis. As a departure from Schama’s conventional style of historical works, such as his award-winning book ‘Citizens’ on the French Revolution, ‘Dead Certainties’ is punctuated by it’s “insightful meditation on the essential elusiveness of historical truth and on the need for creative invention in historical scholarship and writing”. Reviewed by some as “an imaginative, spellbinding work that reminds us that history is more art than science” and others as a reckless detachment from the rules of the historian, the book’s reception reflects ongoing historiographical debate about the role of imaginative empathy in history. However, in his assertion that “history needs to sound less like newspaper editorials and more like poetry”, Schama implies the fundamentality of a ‘novel’ style to explore the narrative of the past, as it involves the nonlinear nature of human experience. Hence, linking to Hayden White’s explanation of history inevitably as a novelization of the past, Schama pursues the opportunity to fully engage this understanding, revising conventional histories and addressing deeper enigmas, as he explains:

“What this little pair of fictions was meant to do was to tear out the seams from the finished fabric of history writing, let them fray and hang and have readers decide for themselves whether the thing can ever be satisfactorily put back together.”
 
Thus, Schama’s revision of “the finished fabric” of traditional, progressive metanarratives has significant implications for social history. Specifically, the top-down perspective of ‘Great Men’ that is perpetrated in conventional histories can be challenged by the use of imaginative empathy, as it functions to uncover new insights and expand beyond parochial histories that are, as John Vincent articulates, “deeply male, non-young, and about the rich and famous, not the poor”. A prime example of this transcendence of top-down history is E.P. Thompson’s ‘The Making of the English Working Class’ (1963) - a book often identified as a watershed in the field of social history for utilising the ‘scraps’ of the historical record. Through his stated aim of “seeking to rescue the poor stockinger, the Luddite cropper, the ‘obsolete’ handloom weaver, the ‘utopian’ artisan…” Thompson elucidated aspects of the human experience seldom comprehended in British historiography. Thomson’s use of imaginative re-enactment in ‘The Making’ is presented in a reoccurring pattern - beginning sections with an anecdote or story about an individual or event, and then expanding on the broader implications and context of this story to illuminate large-scale social processes. The beneficial impact of this approach on Thompson’s construction of history is inferred by the “originality, vigour and iconoclasm” that is associated with ‘The Making’. Hence, fiction can be used as a legitimate tool in social history to dispute the parochial perspectives embedded in historical thought, broadening the insights of historiographical endeavours.

Ultimately, fiction is fiction, and cannot be held up to the standards of biography and history. The consequences of imaginative history must be considered, such as the use of historical fiction for the entertainment of vast public audiences at the potential forfeiture of historical accuracy. Hence, an analytical rigour must be applied to the construction of history, mirroring the nature of scientific process. However, history is the analysis of human experience, which is innately multi-faceted and incomprehensible without the application of imaginative empathy. Imaginative empathy offers a depiction of human experience that is necessary and invaluable to historiographical endeavours, as suggested by the postmodernist view that history is the essence or historian’s ‘novelisation’ of the past, rather than the entirety of the past itself. Transcending the apathetic and parochial narratives of a modernist or top-down history offers the ability to engage with new perspectives and critical insights. History is a collaborative effort of science and art. Thus, the use of fiction as a historiographical tool is, to a large extent, legitimate.
HSC 2017: Advanced English | Mathematics | Biology | Society and Culture | Modern History | History Extension

sudodds

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Re: History Extension Essay Marking Thread
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2017, 10:22:58 am »
Hi Susie, absolutely any feedback would be immmensely appreciated !! Thank you so much in advance :D

Lets have a look shall we :D My comments are in the spoiler:

Spoiler
There are innumerable paths in the pursuit for historical truth. Nice judgement - clear, strong and direct! Historical works that combine analytical and imaginative history demonstrate how the democratisation of History when you're talking about the disclipline of History use a capital Hhas allowed for the contribution of interdisciplinary methodologies nice! to contemporary historical thought. Subsequently, historians have transcended their obligation to empirical evidence and scientific method, and pursue new forms of history in the revision of traditional perspectives. looking really good so far Angie! The use of imaginative re-enactment in historical works infers the opportunity to “add an imaginative dimension that allows the work to speak to the whole persona and the emotional dimensions of the reader, not only to the intellectual or the rational faculties”. Simon Schama’s schama llama! oh god this takes me back to the Western Imperialism case study hahaclaim that “Without a grip on evidence, the historical novel is empty fable; without imaginative empathy, history is all bones and no flesh and blood” also articulates that the collaboration between science and fiction has the potential to enhance the insights of historiographical endeavors. Hence, fiction through the use of the historian’s imagination can, to a large extent, be used as a legitimate historiographical tool. Nice work Angie! A fab introduction. I do have a few points though - I feel as though you have neglected the opposition. There are DEFINITELY some significant historiographical problems with the integration of imagination. You don't have to agree with them, but it appears a bit as if you are cherry picking here. Even if it is just a "despite fears that the legitimisation of imagination will...." - a sentence like that will then allow you to assert your own position. You could also mention, even briefly the inevitability of imagination (however that isn't 100% necessary - just a thought :) ) Along with this, though you have developed your argument well, I have no clue what your paragraphs are going to be on specifically! Your intro should outline your essay in some capacity :) But overall, great work! I absolutely LOVE how historiographical you are being :)

Historiographical debate relating to the reliability of fiction in history highlights an imperative tension between science and art. The supposedly paradoxical use of imaginary scenarios, which are subjective by nature, in a historian’s endeavour to portray a nonpartisan, reliable history suggests that fiction inherently contradicts the laws of historical investigation. Fantastic! Your language is also really strong! This beckons the question: is the reliability of fictional renditions of history inevitably compromised? Popular productions of historical fiction such as Braveheart, Pearl Harbour and Disney’s Pocahontas have cultivated heavy criticism from the historical community due to their portrayals of the past that have “almost totally sacrificed historical accuracy for epic adventure”, reiterating the potential dangers of pioneering histories for the entertainment of vast public audiences. Such texts invite debate about being termed either as historical fiction or ‘fictionalised history’, suggesting that their misleading portrayals of the past obscure public historical thought. This is great. For example, Peter Weir’s 1981 film Gallipoli demonstrates this through its perpetration of the ANZAC legend In your research of this have you heard about the 'ANZAC myth'? It is a big historiographical debate surrounding to what extent the Anzacs actually contributed to the war effort. There is pretty strong evidence to say that, though undoubtedly brave individuals who deserve immense respect for the sacrifices they made, in the grand scheme of WW1 Australia contributed very little, however our national history presents a very different image: That "we" were the reason the Allies won the war The Canadians present a very similar view of their own soldiers. As to the Americans, etc. etc. All nations present a romanticised and glorified version of history, which may be interesting to include here - you do touch on it, but I just wanted to make sure you knew about it explictly :) Here is an article about it if you want to have a read! . The historiography of the ANZAC legend has been defined by a chauvinistic portrayal of Australian soldiers likened to Arcadian warriors and of British officials as antagonists who ‘drank tea on the beach’ during the failed Gallipoli offensive in World War II. Weir encourages this narrative of national history in the film through the manipulation of historical events with a creative license, consequently engendering parochial mindsets about the war to a broad public audience, as Australia historian Peter Cochrane claims, “Drape “Anzac” over an argument and, like a magic cloak, the argument is sacrosanct”. This indicates the dangers of creative freedom in contributions to historical thought, as such works could compromise the reliability of historiographical research are you suggesting here that it'll end up a bit like Chinese whispers? In that it compromises historical research in the future by adding an element of fiction that becomes a supposed truth, which then infiltrates historical works in the future? If so great argument - but I'd love you to elaborate a tad more :) Just one more sentence.. Hence, this evokes discussion about whether or not fiction, which is innately a historian’s own invention, can have any contribution to valid historiography I'd used 'The Discipline of History' instead of valid historiography here..

It would be overly simplistic to conclude that all historical fiction is innately unreliable and that its contributions to contemporary historical thought are invalid I'd probably say 'entirely' invalid - just because there are still some pretty heavy historiographical issues that you'd need to iron out. This argument made a significant emergence after David Starkey’s who is he? A historian? historiographer?  historical novelist? rando? What did he write? remark from 2013:

"We really should stop taking historical novelists seriously as historians. The idea that they have authority is ludicrous. They are very good at imagining character: that’s why the novels sell. They have no authority when it comes to the handling of historical sources. Full stop.”

This statement was made in reference to Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, which documents the rise of Thomas Cromwell in the court of King Henry VIII and has been acclaimed as one of the best historical novels of all time. Mantel’s claim “I step aside form all pretenses of accuracy and authenticity” refutes Starkey’s critique as she separates the role of the novelist from that of the historian, yet her statement “That my novels are set in the sixteenth century does not mean I am trying to describe the century accurately; it means I am searching for meanings in human experience that are common to both times, and thus timeless, and have resonance in all our lives” also indicates the distinct contribution that fiction offers to historical thought, which is the opportunity to revise traditional perspectives through imaginative empathy. Awesome! This is really well researched, good job :)

Imaginative empathy refers to a historian’s capacity to make judgments about the past and historical figures by ‘stepping into their shoes’, since something as complex and multifaceted as the human experience cannot be entirely comprehended through statistical evidence and scientific method. Fabulous. This notion is explored in R.G. Collingwood’s ‘The Idea of History’ (1946) what type of historiographer is he?, which challenges the methodology of positivist philosophers by suggesting that history cannot be understood along narrow scientific terms, since historical knowledge is not rooted in a theoretical model. Rather, he explains that “all history is the history of thought (…) and therefore all history is the re-enactment of past thought in the historian’s own mind”, inferring that history is by necessity a product of philosophical thought and imaginative reconstruction, relying on fictional prospects to gain full insight into an event in question. Great integration and explanation of a quote :) This historiographical evolution is inextricably linked to the emergence of postmodernism in the mid to late 20th century, following a period where philosophy favoured various metanarratives of progress such as positivist science and Marxism 'marxist conception of history.'. In a sociological view, postmodernism is ascribed to wider communication and the ability to abandon standardized mass production, indicating how the accessibility of telecommunications and popular culture in modern society has evolved the nature of historiographical studies. Ultimately, this transformation of society and historiography due to postmodernism infers the gradual disappearance of Rankean-style empiricism, as new historical methodologies such as imaginative reenactment will become more prominent and play an influential role in historiography.

Furthermore, postmodernist historians historiographers such as Hayden White similarly argue that the historian’s imagination inevitably plays a fundamental role in their construction of history, “as historical text is in essence nothing more than a literary text, a poetic creation as deeply involved in the imagination as the novel” I used this quote in my major work too! Such a good one :). By suggesting that all historical works embody the same ‘novelisation’ of the past as historical fiction by using imaginative re-enactment, this notion challenges critics such as David Starkey who accentuate the invalidity of historical novels i'd also mention here that it doesn't just challenge the invalidity of historical novels, but the validity of history! I think that is the really big thing here - if both are a novelisation of the past, then is there really a distinction between them? Is one really better than the other?. White’s ‘Metahistory’ (1973) imbues the need for narrative to shape historical fact through the concept of ‘emplotment’, which explains that all historical works adhere to a style of literary culture such as romance, tragedy or satire. 'Tropes!' This is a hard concept to get your head around - well done :) Took me forever to understand. White reinforces the postmodernist perspective that the past is not recoverable beyond text, and hence indicates that a historian’s construction of history is an imaginative reenactment, grounded in evidence, but failing to capture the authentic entirety of the past. Thus, as historians have noted, “Metahistory reflected a shift of emphasis from an unqualified freedom of the imagination to linguistic modes through which that imagination defines what counts as real history”. Thus, the legitimacy of fiction as a historiographical tool is fortified by the necessity to engage with a historian’s imagination in all historical works. I LOVE the integration of different historiographical schools of thought here Angie, particularly Hayden White. Very well done :)

The importance of a historian’s use of imaginative empathy is demonstrated by the historiography of Anne Boleyn. Characterised by a vast spectrum of interpretations, the life – and in particular the enigmatic death – of King Henry VIII’s second wife reveals how the novelisation of historical figures has evolved over time with a greater emphasis on imaginative empathy. The timeless intrigue of Anne Boleyn’s rise and fall in historical fiction indicates her status as one of the most divisive figures of history, having accumulated a wide range of portrayals over time including that of a maleficent home-wrecker, a Protestant martyr, a tragic heroine and even a witch. Within this, it becomes evident that a lack of imaginative empathy has constructed and continuously reconstructed the historiography of Anne Boleyn, as “what remains is a patched together narrative that variously reflects the biases of staunch enemies or idealising rehabilitators of her image”. Reinforcing this tradition of prevalent bias don't just say 'bias' - explain it. How are they biased, why are they in particular so quick to hate her., the illustration of Anne Boleyn by an English Catholic Priest, Nicholas Sanders, describes “a projecting tooth under the upper lip, and on her right hand six fingers”. Hmmm. I get what you're saying here, however it sounds like your saying that they lack Imaginative Empathy, which furthermore suggests that you think that the only legitimate presentation of Anne Boleyn is a sympathetic one. That might not be the case, but that is what it is reading like so you may want to fix some stuff up. Remember that everything is biased - including those who present her positvely. This portrayal would henceforth lay the foundation for an enduring image of Anne Boleyn as a villainous character, translated in contemporary works such as Philippa Gregory’s popular historical novel ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ (2001). Irrespective of her claim that historical accuracy is the hallmark of her writing, Gregory’ work has been critiqued within the historical community for depicting in the novel that Anne was guilty of the charges of adultery, treason and incest, which led to her execution in 1536. This storyline neglects an abundance of evidence reiterating that Anne was innocent of her charges, and was framed to eliminate her as a threat to Henry’s plans for religion in England or alternatively because she was unable to produce a male heir. This brings the validity of historical imagination into question through the notion that it allows narratives to manipulate historiography, particularly in endeavors for entertainment at the cost of reliable judgment. However, imaginative empathy also has the potential to counteract the development of such narratives, such as through works about Anne Boleyn that aim to “to restore a restless, learned, freethinking and ambitious but nondemonic woman to the throne of the public imagination”. Hmmm. In all honestly I'm not 100% sure of the necessity of this paragraph. I feel as though you are kind of repeating yourself a bit? No new arguments were raised + I got a bit confused as to what you were arguing (re. I wasn't sure whether you were saying they used imaginative empathy or not?). So far this has been your weakest paragraph - It's not bad, but it is your weakest.

Susan Bordo’s ‘The Creation of Anne Boleyn’ is an amalgamation of cultural history and biography that highlights the way in which Anne’s historiography has drastically evolved over time, culminating in a lack of clarity about her true character. Aiming to strip away the “sedimented mythology turned into ‘history’ by decades of repetition”, Bordo represents the efforts of many historians and feminist philosophers with ambitions to revive images of King Henry VIII’s six wives through imaginative empathy. The common rhetoric of “divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived” characterises the dominating narrative of Henry VIII’s six consorts, whereby they are all traditionally defined by the way their lives ended rather than how they were lived. This is much better. However, this notion is deconstructed and refuted by one of the earliest full-length novelisations of Anne Boleyn’s life, ‘The Favor of Kings’ (1912). Challenging traditional historiography’s selective perceptions of Anne Boleyn through lenses of villainy or martyrdom, the author Mary Hastings Bradley asserted her commitment to “actual situations . . . real incident, and dialogue” and a fundamental purpose to not “enter an historical controversy” but rather “to suggest the truth of the colours of the picture I have tried to paint, and to offer the Anne Boleyn of this story, a very human girl”. Bradley’s use of imaginative empathy in an appeal to the fundamental ‘human experience’ aspects of history is imbued by her venture into the unexplored areas of Anne’s childhood and development as a young woman. Bradley comprehends Anne’s self-autonomy and salient nonconforming attitude, as informed by testimonial evidence of her personality, by imagining her thoughts. This use of imaginative empathy deviates from the oversimplifications of Anne as either a formidable villainess or an impotent heroine, and introduces a more intricate depiction that appeals to the intrinsic ‘humanness’ and emotional complexity of Anne as an individual. Therefore, fiction can be used as a legitimate historiographical tool to comprehend the quintessential nature of human experience in history. I think this paragraph and the previous paragraph need to be merged and shortened. Though this one was definitely better, they still aren't presenting any new arguments, and focus a little bit too much on this history rather than the historiography (not too much - it is still very firmly historiography, just in comparison to the rest of your essay).

The distinctions between historical novelists and historians have been blurred through their shared purpose to “seek out stories from the past, engage with them creatively, sort and interrogate them, pull them into some kind of narrative shape and interpret them for readers.” An example of these fundamental similarities is imbued in works of social history YES YES YES YES YES, such as those by historians Simon Schama and E.P. Thompson ooo love this guy - I remember when I did my major work on a very similar topic my teacher told me I had to find a way to demonstrate his use of imagination. It was very tricky because he's just so good at what he does, but I managed to in the end - lets see if you managed the same  8). Social history, as the gateway between current and past human experience used to challenge top-down history, enables historians to reimagine the past and fill in the gaps of the historical record why would the need to reimagine the past? What are social historians missing - sources! The history of non-white men is just blatantly not discussed in much depth throughout history. It's really hard to write about the lower classes of Rome, because there is very little surviving evidence as no body considered it worth of surviving. I suggest having a quick read of some of John Vincent's arguments about the nature of evidence and history! Furthermore, what is their purpose for reimagining the past as a social historian? To give a voice to the voiceless ie. their purpose is political more so than to present an objective look at the past. These are all things that I hope you consider and integrate!. Simon Schama’s ‘Dead Certainties’ (1991) emerges as a prominent work of history that incorporates a narrative style and imagined scenarios, which are fundamentally advised by archival sources and Schama’s experience in historical analysis. As a departure from Schama’s conventional style of historical works, such as his award-winning book ‘Citizens’ on the French Revolution, ‘Dead Certainties’ could even analyse the title here - 'Dead Certainties'? is punctuated by it’s “insightful meditation on the essential elusiveness of historical truth and on the need for creative invention in historical scholarship and writing”. Reviewed by some as “an imaginative, spellbinding work that reminds us that history is more art than science” and others as a reckless detachment from the rules of the historian, the book’s reception reflects ongoing historiographical debate about the role of imaginative empathy in history. However, in his assertion that “history needs to sound less like newspaper editorials and more like poetry”, Schama implies the fundamentality of a ‘novel’ style to explore the narrative of the past, as it involves the nonlinear nature of human experience. Hence, linking to Hayden White’s explanation of history inevitably as a novelization of the past, Schama pursues the opportunity to fully engage this understanding, revising conventional histories and addressing deeper enigmas, as he explains:

“What this little pair of fictions was meant to do was to tear out the seams from the finished fabric of history writing, let them fray and hang and have readers decide for themselves whether the thing can ever be satisfactorily put back together.”
 
Thus, Schama’s revision of “the finished fabric” of traditional, progressive metanarratives has significant implications for social history. Specifically, the top-down perspective of ‘Great Men’ that is perpetrated in conventional histories can be challenged by the use of imaginative empathy, as it functions to uncover new insights and expand beyond parochial histories that are, as John Vincent YAYAYAYAYAY I was hoping he'd be mentioned ;) He's one of my favourite historiographers - used him a lot in not only my major work but also in my 'What is History' essays! articulates, “deeply male, non-young, and about the rich and famous, not the poor”. A prime example of this transcendence of top-down history is E.P. Thompson’s ‘The Making of the English Working Class’ (1963) - a book often identified as a watershed in the field of social history for utilising the ‘scraps’ of the historical record. Through his stated aim of “seeking to rescue the poor stockinger, the Luddite cropper, the ‘obsolete’ handloom weaver, the ‘utopian’ artisan…” Thompson elucidated aspects of the human experience seldom comprehended in British historiography. Thomson’s use of imaginative re-enactment in ‘The Making’ is presented in a reoccurring pattern - beginning sections with an anecdote or story about an individual or event, and then expanding on the broader implications and context of this story to illuminate large-scale social processes. The beneficial impact of this approach on Thompson’s construction of history is inferred by the “originality, vigour and iconoclasm” that is associated with ‘The Making’. Hence, fiction can be used as a legitimate tool in social history to dispute the parochial perspectives embedded in historical thought, broadening the insights of historiographical endeavours. In terms of E.P. I'd have a look at some who criticse him for his "melodramatic imagination' - whereby he places everything into a dichotomy of 'good and evil' 'oppressed and oppressors.' This dichotomy some suggest is an oversimplification, but stems from his acceptance of the Marxist conception of history (He is one of the British Marxist Historians!)

Ultimately, fiction is fiction, and cannot be held up to the standards of biography and history. The consequences of imaginative history must be considered, such as the use of historical fiction for the entertainment of vast public audiences at the potential forfeiture of historical accuracy. Hence, an analytical rigour must be applied to the construction of history, mirroring the nature of scientific process. However, history is the analysis of human experience, which is innately multi-faceted and incomprehensible without the application of imaginative empathy. Imaginative empathy offers a depiction of human experience that is necessary and invaluable to historiographical endeavours, as suggested by the postmodernist view that history is the essence or historian’s ‘novelisation’ of the past, rather than the entirety of the past itself. Transcending the apathetic and parochial narratives of a modernist or top-down history offers the ability to engage with new perspectives and critical insights. History is a collaborative effort of science and art. Thus, the use of fiction as a historiographical tool is, to a large extent, legitimate.

Awesome awesome awesome work Angie! This essay is great - you have clearly worked really hard on it, and that shows. Your arguments are great and very historiographical, and your use of language in particular is fantastic ie. it reads really well and sophisticated! I don't have many major comments or concerns that I think need to be addressed - just go through some of my feedback within the spoiler.

But overall, well done! If you just clean up some of the stuff I mentioned I believe you should be feeling pretty confident handing this in :)

Good luck, if you need any clarification of feedback or further direction please let me know,

Susie
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bellerina

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Re: History Extension Essay Marking Thread
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2017, 08:07:50 pm »
Anyone able to mark my major and annotated bib for this friday?  :o
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sudodds

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Re: History Extension Essay Marking Thread
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2017, 09:04:12 pm »
Anyone able to mark my major and annotated bib for this friday?  :o
Feel free to post it here and I'll happily take a look :)
FREE HISTORY EXTENSION LECTURE - CLICK HERE FOR INFO!

2016 HSC: Modern History (18th in NSW) | History Extension (2nd place in the HTA Extension History Essay Prize) | Ancient History | Drama | English Advanced | Studies of Religion I | Economics

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maddy359

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Re: History Extension Essay Marking Thread
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2017, 09:48:55 pm »
Hey Susie,
I was wondering if you could look at my essay for me I'm still working on my conclusion and any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

sudodds

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Re: History Extension Essay Marking Thread
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2017, 09:52:28 pm »
Hey Susie,
I was wondering if you could look at my essay for me I'm still working on my conclusion and any feedback would be greatly appreciated!
hey maddy! Absolutely happy to have a look, however before I can you're going to have to post around the forums a little bit more :) 15 posts = 1 essay marked! From personal experience as a student last year, super easy to generate that amount of posts (and rewarding in so many more ways than just essay marking!)
FREE HISTORY EXTENSION LECTURE - CLICK HERE FOR INFO!

2016 HSC: Modern History (18th in NSW) | History Extension (2nd place in the HTA Extension History Essay Prize) | Ancient History | Drama | English Advanced | Studies of Religion I | Economics

ATAR: 97.80

Studying a Bachelor of Communications: Media Arts and Production at UTS 😊

Looking for a history tutor? I'm ya girl! Feel free to send me a PM if you're interested!

av-angie-er

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Re: History Extension Essay Marking Thread
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2017, 10:40:00 pm »
Lets have a look shall we :D My comments are in the spoiler:

Spoiler
There are innumerable paths in the pursuit for historical truth. Nice judgement - clear, strong and direct! Historical works that combine analytical and imaginative history demonstrate how the democratisation of History when you're talking about the disclipline of History use a capital Hhas allowed for the contribution of interdisciplinary methodologies nice! to contemporary historical thought. Subsequently, historians have transcended their obligation to empirical evidence and scientific method, and pursue new forms of history in the revision of traditional perspectives. looking really good so far Angie! The use of imaginative re-enactment in historical works infers the opportunity to “add an imaginative dimension that allows the work to speak to the whole persona and the emotional dimensions of the reader, not only to the intellectual or the rational faculties”. Simon Schama’s schama llama! oh god this takes me back to the Western Imperialism case study hahaclaim that “Without a grip on evidence, the historical novel is empty fable; without imaginative empathy, history is all bones and no flesh and blood” also articulates that the collaboration between science and fiction has the potential to enhance the insights of historiographical endeavors. Hence, fiction through the use of the historian’s imagination can, to a large extent, be used as a legitimate historiographical tool. Nice work Angie! A fab introduction. I do have a few points though - I feel as though you have neglected the opposition. There are DEFINITELY some significant historiographical problems with the integration of imagination. You don't have to agree with them, but it appears a bit as if you are cherry picking here. Even if it is just a "despite fears that the legitimisation of imagination will...." - a sentence like that will then allow you to assert your own position. You could also mention, even briefly the inevitability of imagination (however that isn't 100% necessary - just a thought :) ) Along with this, though you have developed your argument well, I have no clue what your paragraphs are going to be on specifically! Your intro should outline your essay in some capacity :) But overall, great work! I absolutely LOVE how historiographical you are being :)

Historiographical debate relating to the reliability of fiction in history highlights an imperative tension between science and art. The supposedly paradoxical use of imaginary scenarios, which are subjective by nature, in a historian’s endeavour to portray a nonpartisan, reliable history suggests that fiction inherently contradicts the laws of historical investigation. Fantastic! Your language is also really strong! This beckons the question: is the reliability of fictional renditions of history inevitably compromised? Popular productions of historical fiction such as Braveheart, Pearl Harbour and Disney’s Pocahontas have cultivated heavy criticism from the historical community due to their portrayals of the past that have “almost totally sacrificed historical accuracy for epic adventure”, reiterating the potential dangers of pioneering histories for the entertainment of vast public audiences. Such texts invite debate about being termed either as historical fiction or ‘fictionalised history’, suggesting that their misleading portrayals of the past obscure public historical thought. This is great. For example, Peter Weir’s 1981 film Gallipoli demonstrates this through its perpetration of the ANZAC legend In your research of this have you heard about the 'ANZAC myth'? It is a big historiographical debate surrounding to what extent the Anzacs actually contributed to the war effort. There is pretty strong evidence to say that, though undoubtedly brave individuals who deserve immense respect for the sacrifices they made, in the grand scheme of WW1 Australia contributed very little, however our national history presents a very different image: That "we" were the reason the Allies won the war The Canadians present a very similar view of their own soldiers. As to the Americans, etc. etc. All nations present a romanticised and glorified version of history, which may be interesting to include here - you do touch on it, but I just wanted to make sure you knew about it explictly :) Here is an article about it if you want to have a read! . The historiography of the ANZAC legend has been defined by a chauvinistic portrayal of Australian soldiers likened to Arcadian warriors and of British officials as antagonists who ‘drank tea on the beach’ during the failed Gallipoli offensive in World War II. Weir encourages this narrative of national history in the film through the manipulation of historical events with a creative license, consequently engendering parochial mindsets about the war to a broad public audience, as Australia historian Peter Cochrane claims, “Drape “Anzac” over an argument and, like a magic cloak, the argument is sacrosanct”. This indicates the dangers of creative freedom in contributions to historical thought, as such works could compromise the reliability of historiographical research are you suggesting here that it'll end up a bit like Chinese whispers? In that it compromises historical research in the future by adding an element of fiction that becomes a supposed truth, which then infiltrates historical works in the future? If so great argument - but I'd love you to elaborate a tad more :) Just one more sentence.. Hence, this evokes discussion about whether or not fiction, which is innately a historian’s own invention, can have any contribution to valid historiography I'd used 'The Discipline of History' instead of valid historiography here..

It would be overly simplistic to conclude that all historical fiction is innately unreliable and that its contributions to contemporary historical thought are invalid I'd probably say 'entirely' invalid - just because there are still some pretty heavy historiographical issues that you'd need to iron out. This argument made a significant emergence after David Starkey’s who is he? A historian? historiographer?  historical novelist? rando? What did he write? remark from 2013:

"We really should stop taking historical novelists seriously as historians. The idea that they have authority is ludicrous. They are very good at imagining character: that’s why the novels sell. They have no authority when it comes to the handling of historical sources. Full stop.”

This statement was made in reference to Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, which documents the rise of Thomas Cromwell in the court of King Henry VIII and has been acclaimed as one of the best historical novels of all time. Mantel’s claim “I step aside form all pretenses of accuracy and authenticity” refutes Starkey’s critique as she separates the role of the novelist from that of the historian, yet her statement “That my novels are set in the sixteenth century does not mean I am trying to describe the century accurately; it means I am searching for meanings in human experience that are common to both times, and thus timeless, and have resonance in all our lives” also indicates the distinct contribution that fiction offers to historical thought, which is the opportunity to revise traditional perspectives through imaginative empathy. Awesome! This is really well researched, good job :)

Imaginative empathy refers to a historian’s capacity to make judgments about the past and historical figures by ‘stepping into their shoes’, since something as complex and multifaceted as the human experience cannot be entirely comprehended through statistical evidence and scientific method. Fabulous. This notion is explored in R.G. Collingwood’s ‘The Idea of History’ (1946) what type of historiographer is he?, which challenges the methodology of positivist philosophers by suggesting that history cannot be understood along narrow scientific terms, since historical knowledge is not rooted in a theoretical model. Rather, he explains that “all history is the history of thought (…) and therefore all history is the re-enactment of past thought in the historian’s own mind”, inferring that history is by necessity a product of philosophical thought and imaginative reconstruction, relying on fictional prospects to gain full insight into an event in question. Great integration and explanation of a quote :) This historiographical evolution is inextricably linked to the emergence of postmodernism in the mid to late 20th century, following a period where philosophy favoured various metanarratives of progress such as positivist science and Marxism 'marxist conception of history.'. In a sociological view, postmodernism is ascribed to wider communication and the ability to abandon standardized mass production, indicating how the accessibility of telecommunications and popular culture in modern society has evolved the nature of historiographical studies. Ultimately, this transformation of society and historiography due to postmodernism infers the gradual disappearance of Rankean-style empiricism, as new historical methodologies such as imaginative reenactment will become more prominent and play an influential role in historiography.

Furthermore, postmodernist historians historiographers such as Hayden White similarly argue that the historian’s imagination inevitably plays a fundamental role in their construction of history, “as historical text is in essence nothing more than a literary text, a poetic creation as deeply involved in the imagination as the novel” I used this quote in my major work too! Such a good one :). By suggesting that all historical works embody the same ‘novelisation’ of the past as historical fiction by using imaginative re-enactment, this notion challenges critics such as David Starkey who accentuate the invalidity of historical novels i'd also mention here that it doesn't just challenge the invalidity of historical novels, but the validity of history! I think that is the really big thing here - if both are a novelisation of the past, then is there really a distinction between them? Is one really better than the other?. White’s ‘Metahistory’ (1973) imbues the need for narrative to shape historical fact through the concept of ‘emplotment’, which explains that all historical works adhere to a style of literary culture such as romance, tragedy or satire. 'Tropes!' This is a hard concept to get your head around - well done :) Took me forever to understand. White reinforces the postmodernist perspective that the past is not recoverable beyond text, and hence indicates that a historian’s construction of history is an imaginative reenactment, grounded in evidence, but failing to capture the authentic entirety of the past. Thus, as historians have noted, “Metahistory reflected a shift of emphasis from an unqualified freedom of the imagination to linguistic modes through which that imagination defines what counts as real history”. Thus, the legitimacy of fiction as a historiographical tool is fortified by the necessity to engage with a historian’s imagination in all historical works. I LOVE the integration of different historiographical schools of thought here Angie, particularly Hayden White. Very well done :)

The importance of a historian’s use of imaginative empathy is demonstrated by the historiography of Anne Boleyn. Characterised by a vast spectrum of interpretations, the life – and in particular the enigmatic death – of King Henry VIII’s second wife reveals how the novelisation of historical figures has evolved over time with a greater emphasis on imaginative empathy. The timeless intrigue of Anne Boleyn’s rise and fall in historical fiction indicates her status as one of the most divisive figures of history, having accumulated a wide range of portrayals over time including that of a maleficent home-wrecker, a Protestant martyr, a tragic heroine and even a witch. Within this, it becomes evident that a lack of imaginative empathy has constructed and continuously reconstructed the historiography of Anne Boleyn, as “what remains is a patched together narrative that variously reflects the biases of staunch enemies or idealising rehabilitators of her image”. Reinforcing this tradition of prevalent bias don't just say 'bias' - explain it. How are they biased, why are they in particular so quick to hate her., the illustration of Anne Boleyn by an English Catholic Priest, Nicholas Sanders, describes “a projecting tooth under the upper lip, and on her right hand six fingers”. Hmmm. I get what you're saying here, however it sounds like your saying that they lack Imaginative Empathy, which furthermore suggests that you think that the only legitimate presentation of Anne Boleyn is a sympathetic one. That might not be the case, but that is what it is reading like so you may want to fix some stuff up. Remember that everything is biased - including those who present her positvely. This portrayal would henceforth lay the foundation for an enduring image of Anne Boleyn as a villainous character, translated in contemporary works such as Philippa Gregory’s popular historical novel ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ (2001). Irrespective of her claim that historical accuracy is the hallmark of her writing, Gregory’ work has been critiqued within the historical community for depicting in the novel that Anne was guilty of the charges of adultery, treason and incest, which led to her execution in 1536. This storyline neglects an abundance of evidence reiterating that Anne was innocent of her charges, and was framed to eliminate her as a threat to Henry’s plans for religion in England or alternatively because she was unable to produce a male heir. This brings the validity of historical imagination into question through the notion that it allows narratives to manipulate historiography, particularly in endeavors for entertainment at the cost of reliable judgment. However, imaginative empathy also has the potential to counteract the development of such narratives, such as through works about Anne Boleyn that aim to “to restore a restless, learned, freethinking and ambitious but nondemonic woman to the throne of the public imagination”. Hmmm. In all honestly I'm not 100% sure of the necessity of this paragraph. I feel as though you are kind of repeating yourself a bit? No new arguments were raised + I got a bit confused as to what you were arguing (re. I wasn't sure whether you were saying they used imaginative empathy or not?). So far this has been your weakest paragraph - It's not bad, but it is your weakest.

Susan Bordo’s ‘The Creation of Anne Boleyn’ is an amalgamation of cultural history and biography that highlights the way in which Anne’s historiography has drastically evolved over time, culminating in a lack of clarity about her true character. Aiming to strip away the “sedimented mythology turned into ‘history’ by decades of repetition”, Bordo represents the efforts of many historians and feminist philosophers with ambitions to revive images of King Henry VIII’s six wives through imaginative empathy. The common rhetoric of “divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived” characterises the dominating narrative of Henry VIII’s six consorts, whereby they are all traditionally defined by the way their lives ended rather than how they were lived. This is much better. However, this notion is deconstructed and refuted by one of the earliest full-length novelisations of Anne Boleyn’s life, ‘The Favor of Kings’ (1912). Challenging traditional historiography’s selective perceptions of Anne Boleyn through lenses of villainy or martyrdom, the author Mary Hastings Bradley asserted her commitment to “actual situations . . . real incident, and dialogue” and a fundamental purpose to not “enter an historical controversy” but rather “to suggest the truth of the colours of the picture I have tried to paint, and to offer the Anne Boleyn of this story, a very human girl”. Bradley’s use of imaginative empathy in an appeal to the fundamental ‘human experience’ aspects of history is imbued by her venture into the unexplored areas of Anne’s childhood and development as a young woman. Bradley comprehends Anne’s self-autonomy and salient nonconforming attitude, as informed by testimonial evidence of her personality, by imagining her thoughts. This use of imaginative empathy deviates from the oversimplifications of Anne as either a formidable villainess or an impotent heroine, and introduces a more intricate depiction that appeals to the intrinsic ‘humanness’ and emotional complexity of Anne as an individual. Therefore, fiction can be used as a legitimate historiographical tool to comprehend the quintessential nature of human experience in history. I think this paragraph and the previous paragraph need to be merged and shortened. Though this one was definitely better, they still aren't presenting any new arguments, and focus a little bit too much on this history rather than the historiography (not too much - it is still very firmly historiography, just in comparison to the rest of your essay).

The distinctions between historical novelists and historians have been blurred through their shared purpose to “seek out stories from the past, engage with them creatively, sort and interrogate them, pull them into some kind of narrative shape and interpret them for readers.” An example of these fundamental similarities is imbued in works of social history YES YES YES YES YES, such as those by historians Simon Schama and E.P. Thompson ooo love this guy - I remember when I did my major work on a very similar topic my teacher told me I had to find a way to demonstrate his use of imagination. It was very tricky because he's just so good at what he does, but I managed to in the end - lets see if you managed the same  8). Social history, as the gateway between current and past human experience used to challenge top-down history, enables historians to reimagine the past and fill in the gaps of the historical record why would the need to reimagine the past? What are social historians missing - sources! The history of non-white men is just blatantly not discussed in much depth throughout history. It's really hard to write about the lower classes of Rome, because there is very little surviving evidence as no body considered it worth of surviving. I suggest having a quick read of some of John Vincent's arguments about the nature of evidence and history! Furthermore, what is their purpose for reimagining the past as a social historian? To give a voice to the voiceless ie. their purpose is political more so than to present an objective look at the past. These are all things that I hope you consider and integrate!. Simon Schama’s ‘Dead Certainties’ (1991) emerges as a prominent work of history that incorporates a narrative style and imagined scenarios, which are fundamentally advised by archival sources and Schama’s experience in historical analysis. As a departure from Schama’s conventional style of historical works, such as his award-winning book ‘Citizens’ on the French Revolution, ‘Dead Certainties’ could even analyse the title here - 'Dead Certainties'? is punctuated by it’s “insightful meditation on the essential elusiveness of historical truth and on the need for creative invention in historical scholarship and writing”. Reviewed by some as “an imaginative, spellbinding work that reminds us that history is more art than science” and others as a reckless detachment from the rules of the historian, the book’s reception reflects ongoing historiographical debate about the role of imaginative empathy in history. However, in his assertion that “history needs to sound less like newspaper editorials and more like poetry”, Schama implies the fundamentality of a ‘novel’ style to explore the narrative of the past, as it involves the nonlinear nature of human experience. Hence, linking to Hayden White’s explanation of history inevitably as a novelization of the past, Schama pursues the opportunity to fully engage this understanding, revising conventional histories and addressing deeper enigmas, as he explains:

“What this little pair of fictions was meant to do was to tear out the seams from the finished fabric of history writing, let them fray and hang and have readers decide for themselves whether the thing can ever be satisfactorily put back together.”
 
Thus, Schama’s revision of “the finished fabric” of traditional, progressive metanarratives has significant implications for social history. Specifically, the top-down perspective of ‘Great Men’ that is perpetrated in conventional histories can be challenged by the use of imaginative empathy, as it functions to uncover new insights and expand beyond parochial histories that are, as John Vincent YAYAYAYAYAY I was hoping he'd be mentioned ;) He's one of my favourite historiographers - used him a lot in not only my major work but also in my 'What is History' essays! articulates, “deeply male, non-young, and about the rich and famous, not the poor”. A prime example of this transcendence of top-down history is E.P. Thompson’s ‘The Making of the English Working Class’ (1963) - a book often identified as a watershed in the field of social history for utilising the ‘scraps’ of the historical record. Through his stated aim of “seeking to rescue the poor stockinger, the Luddite cropper, the ‘obsolete’ handloom weaver, the ‘utopian’ artisan…” Thompson elucidated aspects of the human experience seldom comprehended in British historiography. Thomson’s use of imaginative re-enactment in ‘The Making’ is presented in a reoccurring pattern - beginning sections with an anecdote or story about an individual or event, and then expanding on the broader implications and context of this story to illuminate large-scale social processes. The beneficial impact of this approach on Thompson’s construction of history is inferred by the “originality, vigour and iconoclasm” that is associated with ‘The Making’. Hence, fiction can be used as a legitimate tool in social history to dispute the parochial perspectives embedded in historical thought, broadening the insights of historiographical endeavours. In terms of E.P. I'd have a look at some who criticse him for his "melodramatic imagination' - whereby he places everything into a dichotomy of 'good and evil' 'oppressed and oppressors.' This dichotomy some suggest is an oversimplification, but stems from his acceptance of the Marxist conception of history (He is one of the British Marxist Historians!)

Ultimately, fiction is fiction, and cannot be held up to the standards of biography and history. The consequences of imaginative history must be considered, such as the use of historical fiction for the entertainment of vast public audiences at the potential forfeiture of historical accuracy. Hence, an analytical rigour must be applied to the construction of history, mirroring the nature of scientific process. However, history is the analysis of human experience, which is innately multi-faceted and incomprehensible without the application of imaginative empathy. Imaginative empathy offers a depiction of human experience that is necessary and invaluable to historiographical endeavours, as suggested by the postmodernist view that history is the essence or historian’s ‘novelisation’ of the past, rather than the entirety of the past itself. Transcending the apathetic and parochial narratives of a modernist or top-down history offers the ability to engage with new perspectives and critical insights. History is a collaborative effort of science and art. Thus, the use of fiction as a historiographical tool is, to a large extent, legitimate.

Awesome awesome awesome work Angie! This essay is great - you have clearly worked really hard on it, and that shows. Your arguments are great and very historiographical, and your use of language in particular is fantastic ie. it reads really well and sophisticated! I don't have many major comments or concerns that I think need to be addressed - just go through some of my feedback within the spoiler.

But overall, well done! If you just clean up some of the stuff I mentioned I believe you should be feeling pretty confident handing this in :)

Good luck, if you need any clarification of feedback or further direction please let me know,

Susie

Hey Susie! Just wanted to say thank you so so much for your feedback, it really helped me to identify some weak points in my essay and change a couple things so that I felt confident when I submitted it yesterday! It feels so crazy to say that it's FINALLY done, but I couldn't have gotten to where I was without your help. Thank you again :D
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sudodds

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Re: History Extension Essay Marking Thread
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2017, 10:55:15 pm »
Hey Susie! Just wanted to say thank you so so much for your feedback, it really helped me to identify some weak points in my essay and change a couple things so that I felt confident when I submitted it yesterday! It feels so crazy to say that it's FINALLY done, but I couldn't have gotten to where I was without your help. Thank you again :D
AWESOME! So glad that I could help a bit, but that confidence comes mainly from the fact that you wrote a BOMB essay to begin with :) Definitely a super crazy feeling - knowing that it has been a year now since I handed mine in feels super surreal too haha, only just realised! Congratulations Angie - your hard work has defs paid off, now you can (kinda cos like trials lol) relax ;)
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bigsweetpotato2000

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Re: History Extension Essay Marking Thread
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2017, 11:38:54 pm »
Susie,

I will have a new appreciation for Lenin if you read this HAHHAHAHAHAHH


THANK YOU SOSOOOSOOSOOS MUCHHH!!

Spoiler
Mao Zedong: Reformer, Tyrant or Both?
The cost of ultimate power.

Throughout the decades of historical examination and analysis on numerous personalities of the past, Communist figure Mao Zedong continues to be a character of two contradictory perspectives. Was he a man who saw beyond the prominent ideals of democracy and capitalism that had risen during the Cold War period, or a tyrant who found pride and joy in his maniacal elimination of human lives?  The Maoist period during the 20th century was the only time where terror and corruption co-existed with economical advancement, a frightening yet promising combination for the Chinese. Whilst recent historical analysis of the Chinese communist leader has showcased an increasing number of agreements that ‘he is one of the great leaders of the China… (His) new style was employed presumably to underline the twin principles of ‘democracy and reform’.’ (G.P.D, 1980) many agree to differ. Arts correspondent Arifa Akbar share similar understandings with historians, including Frank Dikotter that Mao Zedong ‘qualifies as the greatest mass murderer in world history’ (Akbar, 2010). There is no doubt one can come to this conclusion, as Mao Zedong’s campaigns including ‘The Great Leap Forward’ and the ‘Cultural Revolution’ brought approximately 30 million to 40 million deaths between 1959 to 1961. Despite the contradictory views that surround Mao’s personality debate, historians are able to come together and recognize in the words of Historian Jonathan Spence ‘Mao’s beginnings were commonplace, his education episodic, his talents unexceptional; yet he possessed a relentless energy and a ruthless self confidence that led him to become one of the world’s most powerful rulers.’. Thus historians take into consideration what held more significance, the overwhelming ambition for a country’s rapid succession or the importance of the lives who uphold the country itself to position themselves into the two sides of this controversy.

Stuart R. Schram, an American Mao Scholar presents his understanding and perspective of Chairman Mao through the acknowledgement of his achievements and contributions to China. Schram states that his views are shaped only by the accomplishments that advanced the contemporary nation, as ‘his virtues and vices, whether public or private, will be touched on only to the extent that they affected what he was able to achieve’ (Schram, 1994). Thus Mao’s recognition of the need for radical reform in China since his early years did not provide any grounding to the establishment of his character being sadistic and tyrannical, but rather having attained a advanced understanding of the requirements for a struggling country in the 20th century. His purpose and goals which were indeed, for the greater good for China as the nation faced constant suppression from Western superiority. Chairman Mao’s consideration of preserving China’s own culture and tradition whilst building on the prestige and wealth of the contemporary undeveloped country allows identification that his intentions as the leader of the developing country were pure. His efforts cannot be denied, as the numerous development tactics created modernization for rural areas and the foundation for China’s local industries, providing ‘a very substantial industrial and scientific base’ for the growing nation at the time. Furthermore, the increasing interactions with leaders of other countries opened many doors for China, securing their global market for exports to provide economic development in China.  Thus Mao’s recognition of the beneficial relationships with other countries encapsulates the view that by continuing to hide and be a ‘self-contained kingdom’, such isolation would never give rise to extreme success; another accomplishment of the Chairman which reinforces his role as a reformer. Despite the attacks on Mao Zedong’s progressive deterioration of legal human rights of expression and freedoms in the Chinese society during his rule, Schram recognizes the true intentions behind such acts. He argues that the government’s response to the rebellious acts of rising confrontation through such immoral acts were the only solution to resolve the increasing foreign aggression placed on China at that period of time. Thus historian Tim Stanley affirms the necessity of the communist leader’s suppression as ‘Mao’s greatest fear was that his country would succumb to the bureaucratic style of socialism practiced in the Soviet Union’ (Stanley, 2012) highlighting the Chairman’s prioritization of his country’s economical and political stance in the global environment. Yet whilst numerous historians turn to the ideology of Chairman Mao being the vigorous force who brought incredible destruction to his country, Schram recognizes Chairman Mao the reformer through the success of his liberating acts implemented in China during the Post War period. His understanding of the necessity to eradicate and change the archaic environment China has sunk in is affirmed in his assertion that ‘By shaking up the ancient patriarchal, stratified world for China, Mao opened the way for the emergence of new ideas and institutions’.

A perspective that prioritizes ethical and moral considerations can be deprived from the work of historian Jonathan D Spence, who consolidates Mao’s character in his book, The Gate of Heavenly Peace. The revolutionary aspect of Mao Zedong’s implemented acts on China presents the image of a tyrannical leader who acted without remorse. Mao’s determination to achieve success by decreasing the time allocated for China to rise as the dominant world power resulted in ‘him (attempting) to push in a more radical direction so as to prevent stagnation’ (Spence, 1982), resulting in the increase of deaths of civilians. Spence affirms the terrors the Chinese suffered in the 1960s, where opposition to the political agenda was controlled by the cruel physiological and physical abuse on individuals who voiced their opinions that opposed the Maoist ways. Spence documents his understanding through 20th century Chinese author Ding Ling, who suffered the suppression of her political government when echoing the thoughts of the nation as she ‘called on the Fourth National’s people’s congress… to restore some levels of socialist democratic rights’. Her writings which called out the unjust and inhumane ideals behind Mao’s revolutionary plans brought ‘struggle sessions’ that consist of officers continuously implementing ‘mental strain and physical abuse’ with the intention of reeducating. Under the sole purpose of China taking a great step forward in the global community, Chairman Mao brought immense struggle to his people, ranging from betrayals to death. Katherine Reist too, agrees with Spence’s consolidation of Mao’s power as she identifies ‘‘Mao, removed from much of the turmoil he created, willingly paid that price. The Chinese people are still reckoning the cost.’ (Reist, 2000) suggesting Mao’s  inhumane decisions to manipulate human lives like chess pieces portrays a tyrant who yields power as his sword. Furthermore, Chairman Mao under the Cultural Revolution acts not only utilized the youth of the contemporary nation to removal those upholding the bourgeoisie ideals through tyrannical means as seen numerous individualists’ humiliation through placards stating their counter-revolutionary and criminal identity. Despite the Red Guards believing they performed courageous deeds for the bright future of China, Spence highlights the transition of the common enemy character from the Japanese to each other, reinforcing the perspective of Mao Zedong as a tyrant who manipulated the nation to his liking for his beliefs. Thus it is the clarification of Mao Zedong’s speech that the policies of the Cultural Revolution were aimed to ‘definitely destroy feudal, bourgeois, petty-bourgeois, liberalist, individualist, nihilist’ (McDougall, 1980) where the idea of individualist is leveled on the same platform as the feudal does one correspond Chairman Mao with the image of a brutal enforcer of his ethnics that held no moral consideration.

Professor G P Deshpande presents an advanced and further understood response to Chairman Mao’s political agendas, as he counterpoints the presumed tyrannical ideologies painted on Chairman Mao with his recognition of the intellectuality behind such dehumanizing acts imposed in China during his reign. Deshpande presents the Western understanding of China’s revolutionary movement through their categorization of such action under the idea of a purge, yet presents how deeper understanding of the Maoist acts establishes the admittance of historians that such description ‘was not only inadequate by also irrelevant.’ (Deshpande, 1966) His views were that the Cultural Revolution plan was not ‘the product of a whim or fantasy of ageing Mao’ or his weapon that yields to Mao’s tyrannical desires. Only through the correlation between the sixteen points program to China’s situation during that period did Deshpande present his understanding of the Maoist acts that were harnessed. This politburo resolution created and implemented by the Chairman addressed the economical and political issues China faced in the 1960s and 1970s, providing objectives that served as solutions that brought the nation a step closer to ‘Mao’s vision of tomorrow’s China.’ Deshpande himself illustrates how the sixteen points despite having ‘an air of militancy’ surrounding them, the goals of Chairman Mao all targeting one sole purpose; China’s attempt to break free from their powerless position in society and rise to new heights to take a great leap forward. Yet Deshpande’s understanding of the optimal motives behind each point was only found when considering the campaign under the conditions of contemporary context. The Maoist vision allowed him to understand how the program held no tactics that were new and original to revolutions but rather brought a driving force to mobilize the Chinese for the new China. In addition, Mao’s reasoning for the eradication of those who upheld the bourgeoisie and ‘the four olds’ ideologies during the revolutionary movement can be perceived through historian Dun J Li’s statement ‘let the demons and hobgoblins come out of their lairs in order to wipe them out better, and let the seeds sprout to make it more convenient to hoe them’ (Dun J. Li, 1969) bringing to focus Mao’s intentions were all contributions to China’s prosperous future. Thus by following up on Schram’s understanding of the necessity for Mao’s refurbishing revolution to eradicate the old customs of China and thus, create the groundwork for ‘national salvation and renewal’ (Schram, 1994), Deshpande presents his perspective that Mao’s creation of the Cultural Revolution was a ‘well-planned drive to mobilize the people, to make them more vigilant and tackle the enormous problems of China’ rather than a meticulous plan full of ‘the woes and failing of China’ (Pye, 1986) establishing Chairman Mao as a reformer tactician.

The ruthless dictatorship of Mao Zedong is drawn upon the understanding of his dismissal of lives that held significant power in their previous bourgeoisie government. Chinese Revolution historians Jung Chang and Jon Halliday affirm the inhumane character of the communist leader who recognized the sacrifice required in order to modernize the Chinese economy in Mao: The Unknown Story. Chang and Halliday reveal the horrific truth of the nation leader, a man who understood the effects of The Great Leap Forward on his people yet continued to export their food products for economical gain, reaching numbers of 4.74 million tons of grain in 1959. Mao’s falsified claims about the ‘unlimited supplies of food’ (Halliday, and Chang, 2007) to international leaders sheds light on the atrocities he committed his people to. Peasants and agricultural workers suffered intense malnutrition and starvation due to Mao’s radical depletion of their food intake, as the exportation numbers were not calculated based on what could be produced, but rather what Mao required for his program to provide profit in order for China to overtake all the dominant capitalist countries in the 20th century. Thus, the affirmation of Halliday and Jung that ‘Mao knew that in many places people were reduced to eating compounds of Earth. In some cases, whole villages died as a result, when people’s intestines became blocked.’ continues to expose such tyranny that existed in the 20th century. However, it brings us to questions where such sufferings effective in bringing positive change to the Chinese economy? Historian Lucian Pye argues that despite Mao Zedong being recognized for his contribution to the wealth China is indulged in at this current time, the idea of the failures of the Maoist acts being undermined by his success is ‘not particularly convincing because China today follows very few of the early Mao’s ideologies.’ (Pye, 1986).His utilities of the young crowd to carry out his cruel deeds were effective acts of manipulation, where Mao was able to eradicate his enemies through the student activists who support him and in so, hid behind the façade of being a nation valuing politician. Chang and Halliday asserts Chairman Mao’s fabrications of trust through his orchestration of turning the students against government figures who disagreed with Maoism, as ‘Many of these officials were on Mao’s hit list, but for now he used them to spread terror (Red Guards) - one that would soon engulf themselves’, bringing forth the reality of Mao’s understanding of the terrors he infringed on the Chinese, but regardless went forth under the reasoning of change. Similarly, Spence also affirms the mercilessness of Chairman Mao in his public announcements of encouragement of the destruction chased by the criticizing youth during the revolutionary period. Chairman Mao’s speech in February 1957 further establishes his support for the rebellion against the traditional values that plagued the country prior to his rule. Spence conveys this in the words of Harvard Professor Roderick MacFarquhar that he issued a ‘forceful warning that only through the creative struggle and daring would the Chinese be able to deepen the revolution and attain higher levels of political and social life’ (D Spence, 1982). This understanding, recognizes the truth of Mao Zedong’s understanding of the brutality of his policies, yet heeds no attention to the suffering under the belief that ‘To achieve its ultimate consolidation, it is necessary… to carry on constant and arduous socialist revolutionary struggles and socialist education on the political and ideological fronts’ (Mao, 1957).

Communist leader Mao Zedong has carried numerous different understandings of his character and his legacy over the decades. In the words of Tim Stanley, ‘there was a big gulf between the theoretical Maoism and Maoism in practice (of Mao Zedong)’. Whilst most recognize him as the tyrant who was a disaster to mankind ironically in the form of homo-sapiens himself, some choose to look beyond his social and cultural impacts on the Chinese civilians and understand his policies were merely based on the understanding that China required immediate revolution in order to be where it is at this present time. In a context where Lucian Pye confirms that ‘loss of culture and of spiritual values, loss of hope and ideals; loss of time, truth and of life, loss, in short, of nearly everything that gives meaning to life’ one cannot deviate from the characterisation of Chairman Mao as a tyrannical leader who held no ethical values. However, once considering the recognition of the truth in Mao’s words ‘the struggle to consolidate the socialist system…will take a long historical period’ (Mao, 1957) historians realise that without such suffering China would not have arrived at the stage it is at today. Yet the perspective of Mao Zedong can only be developed once aligned with self valued morals and ethics and when examined at a particular period of time. Understanding of this controversial figure is only clear when one recognises the unavoidable ramifications of every action. Thus whilst Mao Zedong the tyrant, paid with his people’s lives the cost for China’s ultimate power, Mao Zedong the reformer would not have succeeded in modernising China if such sacrifice was not made.

sudodds

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Re: History Extension Essay Marking Thread
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2017, 01:16:07 am »
Susie,

I will have a new appreciation for Lenin if you read this HAHHAHAHAHAHH


THANK YOU SOSOOOSOOSOOS MUCHHH!!

Talk about an offer I can't refuse ;) My comments can be found within the spoiler :)

Spoiler
Mao Zedong: Reformer, Tyrant or Both?
The cost of ultimate power.

Throughout the decades of historical examination and analysis on numerous personalities of the past, Communist figure Mao Zedong continues to be a character of two contradictory perspectives I quite like this as an introductory sentence :). Was he a man who saw beyond the prominent ideals of democracy and capitalism that had risen during the Cold War period, or a tyrant who found pride and joy in his maniacal elimination of human lives? Hmmm not to keen on the use of rhetorical questions - this is an essay, not a speech. The Maoist period during the 20th century was the only time where terror and corruption co-existed with economical advancement, a frightening yet promising combination for the Chinese. Whilst recent historical analysis of the Chinese communist leader has showcased an increasing number of agreements "increasing number of agreements - that just sounds weird. I'd probably reword it like this "though (insert view) in recent historical analysis is becoming increasingly more accepted," something more like that. Also - why? Why has it become more accepted. I don't want you to just list the different perspectives,
 what I want to see is that you can analyse and dissect why these perspectives have come to be (though the integration of various historiographical issues and concepts).
that ‘he is one of the great leaders of the China… (His) new style was employed presumably to underline the twin principles of ‘democracy and reform’.’ (G.P.D, 1980) many agree to differ I get that you are trying to do the whole "agree to disagree thing" - but it's just a tad confusing, and not really consistent with how you are meant to construct an academic essay.. Arts correspondent Arifa Akbar share similar understandings with historians, including Frank Dikotter Unless these are key historians - i.e. they feature in every paragraph and their works are basically case studies, I don't really recommend including their names here, just because its a bit too much for an intro. that Mao Zedong ‘qualifies as the greatest mass murderer in world history’ (Akbar, 2010). There is no doubt one can come to this conclusion no doubt? But many people do doubt don't they? I'd shy away from making definitive statements like this in history extension. I'd probably say "the plausibility of this conclusion is evident," or something like that instead., as Mao Zedong’s campaigns including ‘The Great Leap Forward’ and the ‘Cultural Revolution’ brought approximately 30 million to 40 million deaths between 1959 to 1961 I'm gonna play devils advocate here, because you have to in history extension. Many suggest that these statistics are either a) false, or b) an oversimplification. Does that mean that they are right? No! However you can't just ignore these criticisms - this is another example of avoiding over-generalisations and definitive statements - especially if you don't provide a source to back it up!. Despite the contradictory views that surround Mao’s personality debate 'Mao's personality debate' sounds a bit off - 'The debate surrounding the actions and activities or Mao' sounds more sophisticated, historians are able to come together and recognize in the words of Historian Jonathan Spence ‘Mao’s beginnings were commonplace, his education episodic, his talents unexceptional; yet he possessed a relentless energy and a ruthless self confidence that led him to become one of the world’s most powerful rulers.’. Thus historians take into consideration what they perceiveheld more significance - the overwhelming ambition for a country’s rapid succession or the importance of the lives who uphold the country itself, to position themselves into the two sides of this controversy. This final sentence needed to be integrated earlier - this idea of contradictory perspectives forms the basis of your argument and is the historiographical element of your essay. This introduction came across as a little bit too much of just a list of perspectives. What I want to see is not what the perspectives are, but why they have developed. At present this is reading a little bit too much like 'the history of historiography' - what I need to see is just the historiography, the analysis, the thematic links, etc. etc. I see a glimmer of it here within this final sentence, but I want more!

Stuart R. Schram, an American Mao Scholar presents his understanding and perspective of Chairman Mao through the acknowledgement of his achievements and contributions to China. I think this should be the explanation of your judgement - not the judgement itself. Your introductory sentence should be more simple, and straight to the point (not necessarily shorter, but just lacking specific detail, such as historians) - perhaps: "The legacy of Chairman Mao is shaped by the way in which his achievements and contributions to China are perceived and interpreted - these interpretations a derivative not only of the historians own context and values, but further, their interpretations of __________" (idk if that last part is actually your argument, I'm just including it because I want to push the historiographical elements of your essay). Schram states that his views are shaped only by the accomplishments that advanced the contemporary nation, as ‘his virtues and vices, whether public or private, will be touched on only to the extent that they affected what he was able to achieve’ (Schram, 1994). Thus Mao’s recognition of the need for radical reform in China since his early years did not provide any grounding to the establishment of his character being sadistic and tyrannical, but rather having attained a advanced understanding of the requirements for a struggling country in the 20th century. So Schram's interpretation is essentially the destination is more important than the journey? I'd have a look at the concept of teleology (it might be completely inconsequential, but I'd take a look, because you might be able to integrate it his some how). Also just as a side note, considering this is about Mao, I hope you look at the Marxist Conception of history somewhere in this essay! His purpose and goals which were indeed, for the greater good for China as the nation faced constant suppression from Western superiority Could perhaps look at Edward Said's theory or 'Orientalism'? Again, you don't have to, just spit balling ideas :). Chairman Mao’s consideration of preserving China’s own culture and tradition whilst building on the prestige and wealth of the contemporary undeveloped country allows identification that his intentions as the leader of the developing country were pure Is this a reductionist view of Mao?. His efforts cannot be denied, as the numerous development tactics created modernization for rural areas and the foundation for China’s local industries, providing ‘a very substantial industrial and scientific base’ for the growing nation at the time This is reading a bit too much like a history essay - where is the analysis of the interpretation? Why does Schram accept this view? And I don't mean "because he looked at this evidence" - he would have come up with his hypothesis before looking at the evidence, this is just what he found to support his interpretation. What is his purpose or motive for writing history like this? Is he a marxist who seeks to validate the work of Mao? Is he a revisionist historian? etc. etc.. Furthermore, the increasing interactions with leaders of other countries opened many doors for China, securing their global market for exports to provide economic development in China.  Thus Mao’s recognition of the beneficial relationships with other countries encapsulates the view that by continuing to hide and be a ‘self-contained kingdom’, such isolation would never give rise to extreme success; another accomplishment of the Chairman which reinforces his role as a reformer. Despite the attacks on Mao Zedong’s progressive deterioration of legal human rights of expression and freedoms in the Chinese society during his rule, Schram recognizes the true intentions are they definitely true?!? Or are they just what he believes are true because _____________. behind such acts. He argues that the government’s response to the rebellious acts of rising confrontation through such immoral acts were the only solution to resolve the increasing foreign aggression placed on China at that period of time. Thus historian Tim Stanley affirms the necessity of the communist leader’s suppression as ‘Mao’s greatest fear was that his country would succumb to the bureaucratic style of socialism practiced in the Soviet Union’ (Stanley, 2012) highlighting the Chairman’s prioritization of his country’s economical and political stance in the global environment. Yet whilst numerous historians turn to the ideology of Chairman Mao being the vigorous force who brought incredible destruction to his country, Schram recognizes Chairman Mao the reformer through the success of his liberating acts implemented in China during the Post War period. His understanding of the necessity to eradicate and change the archaic environment China has sunk in is affirmed in his assertion that ‘By shaking up the ancient patriarchal, stratified world for China, Mao opened the way for the emergence of new ideas and institutions’. Where is your judgement? All I am really seeing is an explanation of Schram's. What is your opinion on Schram's view - do you think he is right? wrong? Why do you think that? Dissect his argument, tear it to shreds. Look at his methodology, his ideology, his socio-philosophical background. At present this is reading too much like just a list of the different perspectives. We know there are different perspectives - this is history! As EH Carr states, "interpretation is the lifeblood if history" - thus it is not enough just to tell me what the interpretations are. I need to see your interpretation of the interpretations!

A perspective that prioritizes ethical and moral considerations can be deprived from the work of historian Jonathan D Spence, who consolidates Mao’s character in his book, The Gate of Heavenly Peace. Again, I don't want you to mention the historians in your first sentence, that just strengthens my perception that this essay is just a list of different historians interpretations. It would have been much better if you started like this: "Shared and subjective notions of ethics and morality shroud interpretations of Mao Zedong, as his potentially positive contributions are clouded by the perceived terror of his regime." With that in mind, I would LOVE a discussion upon the historical implications of letting such a subjective concept of ethics centre a historical debate! The revolutionary aspect of Mao Zedong’s implemented acts on China presents the image of a tyrannical leader who acted without remorse I don't think Mao actually has anything to do with this image - more so the historians who curated it. That isn't to say that Mao wasn't that - but it wasn't he who developed that image, and as this is a historiography essay anyway, it is better to focus on the historians contributions anyway. Mao’s determination to achieve success by decreasing the time allocated for China to rise as the dominant world power resulted in ‘him (attempting) to push in a more radical direction so as to prevent stagnation’ (Spence, 1982), resulting in the increase of deaths of civilians. Spence affirms the terrors the Chinese suffered in the 1960s, where opposition to the political agenda was controlled by the cruel physiological and physical abuse on individuals who voiced their opinions that opposed the Maoist ways. Again - this is too much history, not enough historiography. Just because a historian says this doesn't mean its historiography (in the history extension sense). Spence documents his understanding through 20th century Chinese author Ding Ling, who suffered the suppression of her political government when echoing the thoughts of the nation as she ‘called on the Fourth National’s people’s congress… to restore some levels of socialist democratic rights’. Her writings which called out the unjust and inhumane ideals behind Mao’s revolutionary plans brought ‘struggle sessions’ that consist of officers continuously implementing ‘mental strain and physical abuse’ with the intention of reeducating. Under the sole purpose of China taking a great step forward in the global community, Chairman Mao brought immense struggle to his people, ranging from betrayals to death. History essay. Katherine Reist too, agrees with Spence’s consolidation of Mao’s power as she identifies why? ‘‘Mao, removed from much of the turmoil he created, willingly paid that price. The Chinese people are still reckoning the cost.’ (Reist, 2000) suggesting Mao’s  inhumane decisions to manipulate human lives like chess pieces portrays a tyrant who yields power as his sword. Furthermore, Chairman Mao under the Cultural Revolution acts not only utilized the youth of the contemporary nation to removal those upholding the bourgeoisie ideals through tyrannical means as seen numerous individualists’ humiliation through placards stating their counter-revolutionary and criminal identity History essay. Despite the Red Guards believing they performed courageous deeds for the bright future of China, Spence highlights the transition of the common enemy character from the Japanese to each other, reinforcing the perspective of Mao Zedong as a tyrant who manipulated the nation to his liking for his beliefs. Thus it is the clarification of Mao Zedong’s speech that the policies of the Cultural Revolution were aimed to ‘definitely destroy feudal, bourgeois, petty-bourgeois, liberalist, individualist, nihilist’ (McDougall, 1980) where the idea of individualist is leveled on the same platform as the feudal does one correspond Chairman Mao with the image of a brutal enforcer of his ethnics that held no moral consideration. Like before, I don't see your opinion, or your voice at all. All I see is an explanation of other peoples voices, and only on a surface sense. Why do these historians place morality and ethics above economic progress, whereas others the opposite? They both have access to the same evidence/sources (unless they don't -then that is something you can discuss!) - it is not about the history anymore when assessing their interpretation, it is about the historians.

Professor G P Deshpande no historians in first sentence presents an advanced and further understood ? this is an odd way of describing it response to Chairman Mao’s political agendas, as he counterpoints the presumed tyrannical ideologies painted on Chairman Mao with his recognition of the intellectuality behind such dehumanizing acts imposed in China during his reign. Deshpande presents the Western understanding of China’s revolutionary movement through their categorization of such action under the idea of a purge, yet presents how deeper understanding of the Maoist acts establishes the admittance of historians that such description ‘was not only inadequate by also irrelevant.’ (Deshpande, 1966.) This is better! This is historiography :) Still need to see your voice more, but this is definitely more like it - particularly the link to their Western heritage, and how that clouds their view. Again, suggest having a read of Edward Said's 'Orientalism'. His views were that the Cultural Revolution plan was not ‘the product of a whim or fantasy of ageing Mao’ or his weapon that yields to Mao’s tyrannical desires. Only through the correlation between the sixteen points program to China’s situation during that period did Deshpande present his understanding of the Maoist acts that were harnessed. This politburo resolution created and implemented by the Chairman addressed the economical and political issues China faced in the 1960s and 1970s, providing objectives that served as solutions that brought the nation a step closer to ‘Mao’s vision of tomorrow’s China.’ Deshpande himself illustrates how the sixteen points despite having ‘an air of militancy’ surrounding them, the goals of Chairman Mao all targeting one sole purpose; China’s attempt to break free from their powerless position in society and rise to new heights to take a great leap forward. Yet Deshpande’s understanding of the optimal motives behind each point was only found when considering the campaign under the conditions of contemporary context Methodology!! Great :D. The Maoist vision allowed him to understand how the program held no tactics that were new and original to revolutions but rather brought a driving force to mobilize the Chinese for the new China. In addition, Mao’s reasoning for the eradication of those who upheld the bourgeoisie and ‘the four olds’ ideologies during the revolutionary movement can be perceived through historian Dun J Li’s statement ‘let the demons and hobgoblins come out of their lairs in order to wipe them out better, and let the seeds sprout to make it more convenient to hoe them’ (Dun J. Li, 1969) bringing to focus Mao’s intentions were all contributions to China’s prosperous future. Thus by following up on Schram’s understanding of the necessity for Mao’s refurbishing revolution to eradicate the old customs of China and thus, create the groundwork for ‘national salvation and renewal’ (Schram, 1994), Deshpande presents his perspective that Mao’s creation of the Cultural Revolution was a ‘well-planned drive to mobilize the people, to make them more vigilant and tackle the enormous problems of China’ rather than a meticulous plan full of ‘the woes and failing of China’ (Pye, 1986) establishing Chairman Mao as a reformer tactician. This was a much better paragraph. It is still (mainly - I did like your discussion of methodology) an explanation of the perspective rather than an analysis, but it was still more historiography than the other paragraphs. What you need to improve on though is the integration of your own voice and opinion.

The ruthless dictatorship of Mao Zedong is drawn upon the understanding of his dismissal of lives that held significant power in their previous bourgeoisie government. This is the introduction of a history paragraph. Where is a mention of interpretations? Chinese Revolution historians Jung Chang and Jon Halliday affirm the inhumane character of the communist leader who recognized the sacrifice required in order to modernize the Chinese economy in Mao: The Unknown Story. Chang and Halliday reveal the horrific truth again - is it truth? Can one interpretation be objectively the truth? of the nation leader, a man who understood the effects of The Great Leap Forward on his people yet continued to export their food products for economical gain, reaching numbers of 4.74 million tons of grain in 1959. Mao’s falsified claims about the ‘unlimited supplies of food’ (Halliday, and Chang, 2007) to international leaders sheds light on the atrocities he committed his people to History essay. Peasants and agricultural workers suffered intense malnutrition and starvation due to Mao’s radical depletion of their food intake, as the exportation numbers were not calculated based on what could be produced, but rather what Mao required for his program to provide profit in order for China to overtake all the dominant capitalist countries in the 20th century History essay. Thus, the affirmation of Halliday and Jung that ‘Mao knew that in many places people were reduced to eating compounds of Earth. In some cases, whole villages died as a result, when people’s intestines became blocked.’ continues to expose such tyranny that existed in the 20th century. However, it brings us to questions where such sufferings effective in bringing positive change to the Chinese economy? Morality again! I really think that there should be a general discussion upon the historiographical implications of writing history based on morality as it is such a subjective concept. Historian Lucian Pye argues that despite Mao Zedong being recognized for his contribution to the wealth China is indulged in at this current time, the idea of the failures of the Maoist acts being undermined by his success is ‘not particularly convincing because China today follows very few of the early Mao’s ideologies.’ (Pye, 1986) So he invalidates history through a present day lens? Could maybe discuss the historiographical notions of hindsight being 20:20. It's very easy for historians (and anyone from the present day) to look back at historical personalities and civilisations and say that they were wrong because we know the outcome of their actions. The thing is - they DIDN'T. For example, we can look at the failures of the WW1 Generals, and say "Douglas Haig, upon looking at the failures of the battle of the Somme, I deem you an idiot and a bad man" - however, you've got to remember that Douglas Haig and all the other WW1 generals weren't used to or trained to deal with the new form of war (war of attrition) that developed during WW1, and thus had no experience dealing with the war, and no way of knowing the outcome. Obviously this is an oversimplification, but you get the point - it is very easy for us in the present to ridicule people from the past because we know their future, it is important to recognise that they did not. His utilities utilisation of the young crowd to carry out his cruel deeds were effective acts of manipulation, where Mao was able to eradicate his enemies through the student activists who support him and in so, hid behind the façade of being a nation valuing politician. History essay. Chang and Halliday asserts Chairman Mao’s fabrications of trust through his orchestration of turning the students against government figures who disagreed with Maoism, as ‘Many of these officials were on Mao’s hit list, but for now he used them to spread terror (Red Guards) - one that would soon engulf themselves’, bringing forth the reality of Mao’s understanding of the terrors he infringed on the Chinese, but regardless went forth under the reasoning of change. Similarly, Spence also affirms the mercilessness of Chairman Mao in his public announcements of encouragement of the destruction chased by the criticizing youth during the revolutionary period. Chairman Mao’s speech in February 1957 further establishes his support for the rebellion against the traditional values that plagued the country prior to his rule. Spence conveys this in the words of Harvard Professor Roderick MacFarquhar that he issued a ‘forceful warning that only through the creative struggle and daring would the Chinese be able to deepen the revolution and attain higher levels of political and social life’ (D Spence, 1982). This understanding, recognizes the truth again - is it truth? Is truth obtainable? of Mao Zedong’s understanding of the brutality of his policies, yet heeds no attention to the suffering under the belief that ‘To achieve its ultimate consolidation, it is necessary… to carry on constant and arduous socialist revolutionary struggles and socialist education on the political and ideological fronts’ (Mao, 1957).

Communist leader Mao Zedong has carried numerous different understandings of his character and his legacy over the decades. In the words of Tim Stanley, ‘there was a big gulf between the theoretical Maoism and Maoism in practice (of Mao Zedong)’. Whilst most recognize him as the tyrant who was a disaster to mankind ironically in the form of homo-sapiens himself ? I don't really get the irony here, and appears a bit too dramatic., some choose to look beyond his social and cultural impacts on the Chinese civilians and understand his policies were merely based on the understanding that China required immediate revolution in order to be where it is at this present time. In a context where Lucian Pye confirms that ‘loss of culture and of spiritual values, loss of hope and ideals; loss of time, truth and of life, loss, in short, of nearly everything that gives meaning to life’ one cannot deviate from the characterisation of Chairman Mao as a tyrannical leader who held no ethical values. However, once considering the recognition of the truth in Mao’s words ‘the struggle to consolidate the socialist system…will take a long historical period’ (Mao, 1957) historians realise that without such suffering China would not have arrived at the stage it is at today. Yet the perspective of Mao Zedong can only be developed once aligned with self valued morals and ethics and when examined at a particular period of time. Understanding of this controversial figure is only clear when one recognises the unavoidable ramifications of every action. Thus whilst Mao Zedong the tyrant, paid with his people’s lives the cost for China’s ultimate power, Mao Zedong the reformer would not have succeeded in modernising China if such sacrifice was not made.

Okay! So I'm going to be brutally honest (as I always am with history extension major works, as they are so important), as I assume that is why you wanted me to mark your response in the first place - to make this essay the best it can possibly be :) I think this essay needs quite a bit of work, and potentially in a few sections to be completely rewritten. You have a month to do this, so you should be sweet! But basically, for the most part what I read was either a) a history essay, or b) a history of historiography essay. Either you focused too much on the actual, historical narrative and detail of Chairman Mao, or you just listed interpretations. I can't recall seeing your own voice or judgement at all - I couldn't tell which interpretation you agree with, disagree with, I saw hardly any mention of ideology, methodology, purpose, context, etc. etc. That is what history extension is built upon! Here is the history extension syllabus.

Part 2: History Project
The history project provides the opportunity for students to design and conduct an investigation in an area of changing historical interpretation. Students develop and refine specific questions for investigation that add to their understanding of the key questions:

• Who are the historians?
• What are the aims and purposes of history?
• How has history been constructed and recorded over time?
• Why have approaches to history changed over time?

Apart from 'who are the historians' (which is probably the least significant of all the dot points), I haven't really seen any discussion upon these historiographical issues. These questions are what makes an essay a historiography essay and not a history essay. I need to see more analysis, more dissection. I need to see you rip into the historians, suggest their limitations, their failings, their successes - rather than just explaining the evidence they use to support their interpretation. If I wanted to know their interpretation, I'd just read their book (or a summary of their book on wikipedia). What I want is for your essay to provide me with a new experience! Unfortunately in this draft I didn't really feel it :(

Furthermore, in quite a few sections you make some very definitive statements, particularly in regards to "truth". One of the first things you go through in history extension is the notion (and really the implausibility) of objectivity and truth. Definitive statements like "he reveals the truth, etc. etc." are just not consistent with what the subject aims to convey. No interpretation is truth. If you are a relativist, you will suggest that some interpretations are more truthful, however still not the whole truth. If you are a postmodernist, you will assert that they are all equally untrue. I need to see this kinda stuff more throughout your essay.

I really think that looking at the concept of morality, and whether it can be a legitimate historiographical tool to view and judge the past would be fantastic- looking at the way in which Mao has been painted as a monster/tyrant/evil/villain. Furthermore, I think looking at the concept of race, and potentially how Western historians (many of whom would already have a negative interpretation of communism purely because of the culture they grew up in) have shaped interpretations through an 'orientalist' lens. That doesn't mean you need to present a sympathetic view of Mao Zedong, but I need more analysis of the interpretations, and why they have come to be. It isn't a matter of just "this historian assessed this evidence and came to this conclusion." There is just sooooo much more to history, and why historians construct certain narratives. But really, long story short, you just need way more analysis and links to historiographical concepts.

I really hope this hasn't discouraged you! I think you are more than capable of writing an absolutely fantastic essay bigsweetpotato2000 :), your grasp on language is for the most part fantastic (that kinda stuff can really hold back an essay, but aside from maybe a few sentences your language is very sophisticated) and you clearly have done a lot of research on Mao Zedong, much of which (even though we need to cut out a lot of the "history") will not go to waste. Now that we have identified the problems, it's going to be so much easier fixing them - and with a month to go you have more than enough time!!

Good luck, if you need any help with anything please let me know! :)

Susie
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