Sources are incomplete, untypical and unreliable, as we found out in our last session. Historians therefore need to:
Select sources to use, based on what questions need answering;
Interpret those sources and make deductions from them;
Organise and present their main conclusions to the public.
Arguably, this process of selection and interpretation distorts our "knowledge" even further. All historians have their own views and interests, formed by upbringing, social background, and current affairs; this will determine the questions they choose to investigate, the sources they choose answer those questions, the interpretation which they put on those sources and even the words they use (“one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”).
In this session, we will therefore investigate the different approaches of historians to the way they choose to "package" the past. We will do this by looking at three main approaches:
Video Clip 1: "Henry VIII - Ray Winstone"
Video Clip 2: "Matchstick Wars"
Video Clip 3: "World at War: Demonisation of Hitler"