`` Indians ' : Textualism, Morality, And The Problem Of History

1423 Words Sep 9th, 2016 6 Pages
In Jane Tompkins ' essay "‘Indians’: Textualism, Morality, and the Problem of History”, several moral and philosophical problems with anti-foundationalism and poststructuralism are raised through the author 's personal experiences and research of what truly happened during the European-Indian conflict when the British attempted to colonize what is now the United States. The most significant problem addressed in Tompkins ' essay is the tension that exists when poststructuralism is employed to avoid politicization of history because, by claiming every account is tainted with the individual 's bias and is thus subjective, a concrete record of past events cannot be written. Without historical accounts to depend on, the study of history is devalued under this philosophical viewpoint and placed in an ivory tower where it can no longer be applied to the real world, creating a moral dilemma regarding the prevention of atrocities rather than create a depoliticized or completely accurate series of historical events.
Tompkins ' essay challenges the poststructuralist mindset and showing how the removal of all subjectivity conflicts with the study of history. She does so by giving accounts of her life through the lens of poststructuralism, both as a child and as an adult doing research in the field of history herself. A large part of the essay consists of this example of the conflict between history and poststructuralism as she analyzes various resources in search of the objective truth…

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