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Reply to Morag Ramsey on Oliver Rackmans thought on Ecology and Pseudo-ecology
I agree with you on that matter that what is given in Rackmans text is almost obvious advises about throughness with sources and accounts, in researching and academic writing. Still it is as you point it out a very important reminder not at least in an interdisciplinary filed as ours. As you put it: when you all the time enter new “academic waters”.
As environmental historians we have to take in accounts from ecology. I guess tough because we depend on disciplinary trust we also have to criticize our sources and clarify when one does for example an ecological analyze on accounts not made by educated ecologist (obviously the same goes for other disciplines). In addition as you say there also have to be a conscious problematization when using written historical sources in research, where we are forced to use surviving texts. This is more obvious the longer we go back in human history and less written accounts is preserved if at all made in the present. Rackman had a point in his lecture about using as much and different sources as possible and then the conclusion will come out more accurate. Plato maybe tempting to use, he is famous and respected but we also have to add modern ecology research and other sources for balancing it all up and critically broaden the palette so to speak. Your thought on Benjamin Martins class about “the old way” in writing history is interesting and I see what you mean. I want to add also the question we had in that class on what makes history? – It is the authors and historians who choose what is remembered or even what regards as wroth to be remembered and how it is remembered.
All the best,
Reply To: Mon 17 March: Greece and Revisionist Environmental History
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