Working Around the Limitations of Biography

1134 WordsMar 17, 20125 Pages
Working Around the Limitations of Biography There are many methods on how to research and record history, and historians worldwide will most likely never agree on one approach. Empiricism for instance, the historical school of thought that has been used by historians for almost 200 years, is both a theory of knowledge, an epistemology, as well as a method of historical enquiry.[1] The theory's followers argued that historians should only use primary sources, those that are created at the particular time of the event, and stressed the importance of remaining unbiased in research. But how undeniable and factual is the information found in original sources? And how can one truly remain objective? The reality is that forgeries are not…show more content…
This refreshing view, linking the work of a historical biographer to that of an archaeologist, is an exciting approach for historians to consider when writing a biography about someone who lived in a certain time or place in history that lacks sources. Digging into the life of the woman by examining her skeleton and burial belongings surprisingly leaves the reader with a sense of knowing that person more intimately. She lay next to ta couple of high-status men who had been buried with shields and spears; but it was she, not the men, who had the most impressive grave goods in the cemetery.[6] The remains of the other members of the community furthermore help the historians reconstruct cultural patterns and provide general information on life, health, and death issues of that particular place and time in history. As such, the historians can then focus on an individual with more depth and knowledge. The stories these remains recount could allow us to recover something of the humanity and individuality of people who have otherwise been stripped of their own unique voices and distinctive histories.[7] This examination can easily be compared to a social construction. Some historians could argue that bodily remains are primary sources,
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