February 10, 2007

epistemology of history

I am reading a history dissertation from Columbia about Stalinism in everyday life in Nowa Huta. The method (as I also began to see last summer, in Poland, talking to American grad students of history) seems so much more straightforward than in geography: find a topic; find an archive; read the archive; construct a reasonable narrative.

No navel-gazing about French social theory; no pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth about how "my" work fits into the ongoing conversation. Just a straightforward telling of new knowledge, fitted into the ongoing narrative of history.

Why is it so hard in geography? Am I making it harder than it has to be? (Probably: B says I pretty much do that about everything.) I've been auditioning various theories, and I'm just exasperated with the whole process. I do have a theory; it's my underlying, semiconscious epistemology of myself. What is it?

Posted by otto0114 at February 10, 2007 10:17 PM