the first half of the course to have been the most important for me,
academically. During this time I learned the most as a result of the
learning I conducted outside of class. I studied several original works
such as Martin Luther's95
Theses, Sir Francis Bacon'sNovum
Organum, and newspaper articles about Jack the Ripper. I enjoyed
going to the sources for my learning instead of reading summaries online or in
class - I felt that in this manner I learned more and was therefore more
capable of valuing the works and the historical period in which they
originated. I typically began my studies on Wikipedia where short
biographies and historical summaries helped me formulate an idea of the
individual or concept in question, and then went more in-depth by looking at
images, reading primary texts, and visiting scholarly websites to learn more
and put it in context. I did this with Martin Luther on January 7 and
William Tyndale on January 9, as well as with Jack the Ripper on January 21-22.
Overall, I am please with what I learned, though I wish we had spent more
time on the subjects. I feel as though I attended a banquet, but was only
able to enjoy the appetizer. In my opinion, a mere month of personal study
is not nearly enough to cover the last 500 years of world history.
My evolving project
was born from my Midterm Exam follow-up post in which I talked about
similarities between the pattern of events of the 20th Century and the 21st
Century. My topic began changing as a result of the cohesive group
collaboration which developed about halfway through the project. Instead
of simply reporting on patterns that I had noticed, I tied the topic into that
of communication. As the class topic finally came to light, it became
easier for me to continually rework my project to better align with it.
The final, and most helpful thing, was being able to work in a group withNathan LambertandJonah Hainsworthin
which we were able to formulate a single argument and apply it to our
individual projects. As the "Patterns
of the Past" group project grew stronger, so did my individual
project. My group members had good suggestions for my project, which
helped steer it in the direction that it needed to go.
Communication and History
is a near-constant thing for humans - unless we are asleep or otherwise
incapacitated, we are always communicating in some way or another.
Anthropologists agree that it was this vital step in evolution - advanced
communication - which set homo
sapiens ahead of all other animals.
From the earliest forms of oral communication, language was born, and
thereby the ability to convey abstract concepts and ideas. Written communication came next, and finally
cellular and digital communication.
Communication in each of these aspects has played its part in shaping
the history of mankind. In fact, it can
be said that history hinges on important communications.
history hinge on communication? A look
at our world throughout the ages provides enough evidence. I was intrigued when I noticed in my studies
that events such as the Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation, the American
revolution, and even the War on Terror all stemmed from documents of singular
import. The Renaissance from the
rediscovery of the Letters of Cicero, the Protestant Reformation from the
posting of the 95 Theses, the American
Revolution from the Declaration of
Independence, and the War on Terror from President Bush’s 2001 ”Speech to
Joint Session of Congress”. Studying
these patterns of the past changes our understanding of how the contemporary
world works, and how events today are shaped under similar circumstances.
are still shaped by communication, though the medium is rapidly shifting. In lieu of any single great communication
that captures the heart of a nation, we see a single Great Communication in
which all people, everywhere, collaborate and correspond digitally. Texts, tweets, and status updates now achieve
the same results as the great documents of the past. History-changing social reform, religious
movements, and philosophical remarks now occur through this Great Communication
that has spread throughout the globe – a trend which is unlikely to change
until the next breakthrough in human communication. No more are speeches and declarations written
by great men necessary to affect change; all we need is a cell phone and a few
million followers to say the same thing as us.