Friday, 23 February 2018

about history


I'm definitely one of those bloggers who has drafts dusting in the corners of my blog and laptop, whether they include photos, text or both that for whatever reason I leave unfinished. And they stay unfinished for weeks, months and years. At some point I'll come back to them and either finish and publish or decide it's time to move on as they are not relevant anymore, I don't feel like that anymore or sometimes I don't even have a clue on what I've been trying to convey with my ramblings. So here's one of those posts I've been meaning to post since before I graduated in 2015 - and was a bit sad about the possibility of it being the last time I study history. And I just felt like publishing it in the end and today's the day! I've edited this and most of the brackets are by 2018-Laura, not that I've really changed that much or changed my opinions since I first started writing this.


"I've been thinking about history a lot lately. (Still true.) It's something I think about a lot anyway as it is what I do in my daily life. But I've realized I don't really talk about doing a degree in history or my university life on the blog. Which is fine because this blog is a place for me to balance out my life and share my less academic interests and all that. But what I realized is that when I do mention history, I either moan about how much of my time it's taking up, how I'd rather read books for fun than about history or how annoying it is to get up to a 9am lecture. And it does take up a lot of my time, it's called being a full-time student. I would rather have more time to read for fun, but a lot of the books to be read for uni are also books I would pick up in my free time. It can be annoying to get up "early", but I only have one 9am lecture and most other people get up 6-7am every day for work/school, so do I really have anything to complain about. Because in reality, I love history. Although, I'm not 100% sure I'd like to continue and do an MA or a PhD or anything higher (currently doing an MA in European Heritage, Digital Media and the Information Society, which is kind of related and I fully preferred straight up history tbh!), I've enjoyed my three years at uni so much and loved studying history - despite it irritating me from time to time. But no matter what you do, it's bound to get on your nerves a bit occasionally.


So, I've been thinking about history a lot lately. Outside of the academic world. Recently a friend of mine said something along the lines of her not finding history that interesting. Apart from this maybe being a bit of a rude thing to say to a historian, fair enough. Obviously, not everyone will enjoy watching a WWII documentary, get excited about excavations bringing up new evidence and a book titled "The Later Roman Empire 284-602: A Social, Economic & Administrative Survey" does sound boring. (Sorry A. H. M. Jones, but it does.) So if you don't like history, I won't argue with that. I was going to say something about me not being that fascinated by a subject and using chemistry as an example. But I realized chemistry is kind of cool, and that I do actually find most things in the world interesting. But saying one doesn't like history still bothers me in a way. Maybe it is only me who can make everything to be about history, but consider this: Where would you be and where would the things you are interested in be without history?


All of the fashion is inspired by previous eras. Especially lately the influence of the 90s, 70s, 20s, you name it, has been so visible. And different decades and centuries rotate in architecture, art and all kinds of other aspects of life just as well as in fashion. You like eating sandwiches? Someone in history decided to put some food between two pieces of bread and make that a thing. (Not too sure who that person was, although everyone knows it was supposedly popularized by the Earl of Sandwich. Food history isn't my forte. I wish it was, how fun would that be!) Most of the culinary efforts of today have evolved because of history. So many of the books, films, theatre and music you like will have been based on or inspired by history. Whether that be Shakespeare, John le Carré, Game of Thrones, Les Misérables, The Beatles, Bastille, The Imitation Game or Downton Abbey (haha, this is definitely the things I was into in 2015). Most things are based on, inspired by or reference events from the past, either really explicitly or in a more subtle manner. And the things that have been inspired by history have in turn inspired so many other things even further. What I'm trying to say, I suppose, is that history is still so present and relevant in everyone's lives, that it shouldn't be dismissed as boring and that historians shouldn't be seen as dusty little men that are simply debating about topics that happened so long ago that they can contribute nothing to the life we live today. Because as cliché as it sounds, you need to understand the past to understand both the present and future. Spending a day at a museum might not be your ideal for a fun day out, but history is so much more than that. And you wouldn't be reading this post written in a language derived from Old English on your whatever-device-you're-using that wouldn't have been invented were it not for previous industrial and technological revolutions and inventions from the past. History is great, you know.


This's definitely not something I usually have posted about in the past, but I don't know, maybe I'm changing up the history of this blog and starting to write more about things from now on. Who knows. And sorry if I sound a bit (passive-)aggressive, I don't mean to, haha! Just thinking out loud!"

And I've still been thinking about history a lot lately (in 2018). I still study something history related, I still love a good visit to a museum, I still read all the history books (this time only for fun!). I feel like previously I only used the arts as examples of how the past comes back in cycles and how history is present in things like the arts. But how did I not mention politics? Because that was/is my thiiing and when you want to talk about the importance of history and understanding the past to understand the present and the future, politics are the thing. In today's (political) climate people aren't taking about the possibility of WWIII and making comparisons to past dictators and politicians who have handled situations disastrously for nothing (extreme yet effective examples). Seeing parallels in the past and what goes on in the world now is both scary and important. If you know and understand what has happened in the past, you should be able to avoid it in the future. Should. (Although, as we know from history, humans tend not to learn from their past/mistakes.) Ending on a bit of a gloomy note, but what can you do?

All in all, history is so important, so interesting and so fun.


These (old) pictures are from the National Maritime Museum in London - to keep up with last week's maritime museum post. What can I say, I love history. (And Turner's Battle of Trafalgar was a favourite.)


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4 comments

Gail J said...

I need to visit more museum there!


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Miguel Gouveia said...

Thanks a lot :D

super interesting post and cool photos :D

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Laura Jane Atelier said...

That museum looks amazing
xo
www.laurajaneatelier.com

Laura Jones said...

Gail J - definitely recommend, honey! london has so many amazing museums! xx

Miguel Gouveia - thanks, pal! x

Laura Jane Atelier - that it is, hun! xx

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