- “History,” p. 95-108, TT
- Seger, Linda. “Creating the Myth,” p. 317-326, SOL
- Thomas, E. & Romano, A. (2006) “History: How American Myths are Made” Newsweek, August 7.
Answer any one set of questions below:
- In what ways are historical narratives often deeply ideological? And if facts alone do not inherently carry meaning, then how do we begin to understand the significance or meaning of a particular historical event? Explain and give an historical example.
- Consider these excerpts from William Byrd’s diary. Is this an historical document? Why or why not? What kinds of questions would we need to ask of this document in order to begin understanding its historical significance? What’s missing? What ideologies seem to underlie this particular narrative?
- When I was in secondary school, my history teachers and textbooks consistently suggested that the Soviet Union (now Russia) was the world’s most evil power, and that democracy and freedom were daily at threat because of the Soviet Union. As a result, my fellow students and I grew up in fear that the next World War and the earth’s destruction was just a button push away, and that the Soviet Union would be the likely culprit. What historical lessons did you learn in school that you can now look back on and question? What, if any, historical narrative did you read or hear in secondary school that now seems problematic?
- In what ways do myths sometimes inform historical narratives? What fairly recent (within the past two decades) example can you provide that exemplifies how myth and history sometimes intersects? How would we begin to unravel the myth from ideology and facts?
- Take another look at Little Red Riding Hood, what universal story or stories can you identify? What archetypal characters? What ideologies are most dominant within this narrative?
- In what ways does the media sometimes perpetuate and even create historical myths? Provide an example, discuss it, and explain its relevance to the myth-making process.