Why I’m doing history:
We do not ‘repeat the past’ (that is impossible, the past is done, gone, cannot be repeated; nor does history ‘repeat itself’). However, human beings do tend to repeat patterns of behavior (as a species we seem to have a limited imagination when it comes to ‘trial and error’ approaches).
Consequently, learning about past impetus (circumstances/ conditions/ environment/ context) and response (agency) allows one to discern patterns of human behavior (as a species we are programmed to ‘see’ patterns).
Aside from being an interesting thing to do, studying past behaviors allows guesses about why people are doing what they are doing in the present to be ‘educated guesses,’ and even allows for the making of educated guesses about what will happen in the future (as an outcome of what people are doing now).
Thus, doing history shows the past to be relevant to the present and future. Hence the tenet illustrated immediately below:
N. Hall, meme-spoof, “History is always Relevant: tenet underlying my study of Canadian history,” (1 December 2013)
To me, metaphysically speaking. doing history means actively constructing an intellectual context in which to situate one’s perspective, on which to base one’s opinions, and out of which one can make informed choices. I am of the opinion that the past cannot inform the present otherwise. When it comes to engaging with historiography, I like to think that the metaphysical has a practical application.
canadianhistory n.0 is a virtual archive of various materials — texts — that I have found or generated in the course of studying Canadian history and developing a context for understanding Canada today: as a state-defined and geographically delimited country, and as a complex collectivity of human beings attempting to live with a multitude of ever varying conceptions of what living in Canada ought to be like. Some of the texts date back to my graduate studies, others are more recent. This archive is virtual not only because it is electronic and web dependent, but because the material stored here is subject to change — web utilities do not hold onto posts indefinitely, neither do web addresses remain constant, nor links active.
I structured this blog as though it were a website, but I constructed the website as though it were a wiki, meaning that uploaded text was always in the process of being edited (corrected and enlarged). The content therefore is not entirely stable (though changes to a page are usually incremental not drastic). I’m mildly dyslexic, so when it comes to spelling and dates mistakes can creep in and sit there for quite awhile before noticed.