Originally Posted by Oh the Irony
History, when it is taught well, is not about names, dates, famous white men or battles. You can look that up if you need to know.
It teaches you how to analyze information from different perspectives and sources. It teaches you how to think and how to understand. To see what complex factors are involved in why we are the way we are today.
I think it depends upon what your needs are, what you plan to do and what you enjoy.
Bold mine. This, IMO may be the entire crux of the whether or not we need to study history argument. Most of us only experienced history classes that were taught by coaches who cared more about the upcoming game than the actual curriculum. We were forced to blandly memorize names, dates, and places and it bored us to tears. This stuff is almost incidental, the heart of history lies in the ideas, the accomplishments, the failures, and the humanity of what came before.
Originally Posted by hellyaellen
i think that most people will end up picking up the bits of history that are important for THEM to learn
i think some bits will be almost universally important in some cultures/regions/groups
for example i bet most of us have some sense of the history of childbirth and parenting practices....
i have a better than average grasp of rock history
you and your kids will end up learninng what YOU need to know
But doesn't this really limit a person's perspective and appreciation? If you don't have a general sense of history, you can't really appreciate what has been overcome, or what is being repressed now because you simply have no knowledge of the past. This will affect decision making abilities and cause cycles to keep spinning. You wouldn't drive a car without any rear view mirrors would you? It simply isn't safe.
Originally Posted by Daffodil
So how does knowledge of history help you make a better choice than someone who is ignorant about history? Does a person really need to know any history to form opinions about global warming, gay marriage, abortion, our country's health care system, or whether we should be fighting a war in Iraq?
Some of your other examples - history of parenting or agriculture - seem more like anthropology than history to me, and they're examples of knowledge that does seem useful to me.
I suspect we're doomed to repeat it anyway.
Can't we assess the effectiveness of our current public education system and compare it to homeschooling without knowing its history? Does its recent origin really tell us whether it's working or not? And isn't that what we really need to know - whether it's working?
Most of us aren't actually going to be making decisions that affect our tomorrows. I mean, we can vote, and maybe influence a few other voters, but I think you could argue that unless you're a politician or activist, you're not going to need historical knowledge for any important decision making.
Wow, talk about not being able to relate! This is so far from the way I think. What else is there besides history?! How about science?
Most of the answers I'm seeing so far are pretty vague. If history is so super important, can't you all come up with some more specific examples of just HOW it's important?
And what kind of understanding of history are you all talking about? Something beyond the general knowledge most people pick up without trying? Is it important to understand the causes of World War I? To know when the Spanish-American War took place, and what it was about? To know when and where guns were invented? What are some examples of important vs. unimportant kinds of history knowledge?
As far as political examples go, I'll use gay marriage here, look at some of the arguments used against it. Male/female relationships are traditional
. But traditional in what context? Certainly traditional in the Xtain/western civilization perspective, but some of the greatest educators/philosphers of the ancient world actually scorned male/female relationships in favor of same sex ones. Aristotle comes to mind. If you want to win on any issue, you must not only present a valid argument, but a valid argument that refutes the argument of your opponent. And in most issues, decisions are made based on precident, if your opponent's precident is faulty, you won't know it to be faulty if you don't know your history.
Speaking of precident, what do you think the court system uses?
Another example is empowerment of oppressed peoples. Without an understanding of AA history and their accomplishments, the white traditional history continues to be accepted as the norm and racism is perpetuated intellectually. Same with women, Cleopatra is basically portrayed as a power hungry slut, but she was actually a political genius who was just overpowered. She was a blight on the Roman Empire's history, and the best way to discredit any woman is to re-write her actions and label her a slut. Three of the biggest threats to the Roman Empire were women, Boudica, Xenobia, and Cleopatra.
How about science? Isn't evolution the history of living things and how they change over time? ANY laboratory study invloves history, what changed over time to the end result. In fact I would say that history is the ONLY subject that can be universally applied to almost all other subjects.
Originally Posted by Lillian J
Anthropology is the study of human beings, past and present - much more closely related to sociology.
I vividly recall when I stumbled across the anthropology section in my college bookstore, was absolutely stunned to realize that people actually get to major in it and study all that stuff in the process - and went to the office that day to change my major from art to anthropology. Lillian
Lillian, archaeology as you know, is a sub field of anthropolgy. I majored once upon a time in anthropology and I was NEVER involved in a dig that didn't have a plain old historian on the team.
I cannot imagine NOT teaching my DC history. EVERYTHING in our lives is affected by what came before, EVERYTHING. We didn't just spontaneously appear, it all didn't start yesterday. No one has to be an expert, but simply ignoring the subject is cutting off your nose to spite your own face.