3.197 report from the TLS (32)

Sun, 2 Jul 89 18:43:04 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 197. Sunday, 2 Jul 1989.

Date: 2 July 1989
From: Willard McCarty <MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: report from the Times Literary Supplement

The TLS no. 4499, June 23-29, contains a longish extract from the
valedictory address of Michael Howard, outgoing (to Yale) Regius
Professor of Modern History at Oxford. Its title is "Structure and
Process in History". It addresses the question posed in the first
sentence, "Why has the study of history been seen, throughout the
evolution of Western society, as an intrinsic and essential part of the
education of all civilized men and women?" I recommend it to your
attention, particularly because Howard deals with "the belief that the
past should be studied in its own right and on its own terms, without
distorting its significance by forcing upon it a pattern of development
which often [involves] ruthless selectivity in the treatment of evidence
and complete insensitivity to values other than our own" (p. 688). This
kind of distortion, which one contributor referred to as "historical
provincialism", is related to the question of disinterestedness that we
have been discussing in conjunction with the topic, education and the

Willard McCarty