At least PARTLY TRUE, because that’s obviously part of what she does in almost every chapter. But is her goal really to “mediate” or to develop her own unique position? Another motivation, and perhaps the main one, for her book is to increase theoretical sophistication and transparency of historians, not just to mediate between critiques. I’d say MOSTLY FALSE for that reason, but that’s a subjective call on how you understand her intent.
What does delimit mean? TRUE according to Fulbrook, at least before she wrote her book. You might say false now that you’ve read her book. Fulbrook would agree with this statement, I think, because postmodern critics of history have indeed called objectivity into question, and Fulbook does state she thinks that historians haven’t answered this adequately because the usual answer is to “appeal to evidence”. Maybe she would argue now that it has been answered by her book. Also, pre-interpretation is a necessary part of human existence, and we all function just fine, so it’s not a valid critique of historical interpretation.
FALSE because there are too many moving parts to this statement. Anachronistic history uses present day concepts and ways of understanding the world to explain what happened a long time ago. This is useful to a point because it CAN help us understand how people thought. BUT: 1) we have to recognize there is a low ceiling to what we can ever know about what anyone from the past actually thought about anything. 2) there are dangers of distorting descriptions of the past or explaining it when using present-day terms and ideas that weren’t present at the time. This is dangerous because, per our example, to talk about medieval science almost unavoidably imports modern connotations of science to the medieval world that didn’t exist. How this is done can vary among topics and language communities, etc, so there is no absolute agreement about whether it’s a good idea.
FALSE. This statement is for sure what a postmodern critic of history would say, but Fulbrook is arguing this statement is NOT true (or will not be true) if historians are careful and explicit about assumptions and terminology. She does think historians can communicate across language communities, but I don’t think she’s say this is common practice now.
FALSE. She is writing the book to show that progress IS possible and that we CAN choose between different interpretations and we can defeat (postmodern) critics of history that question the way it can effectively represent “the actual past”.
FALSE. If we think that history has moved beyond “traditional” history, which is based on individual accomplishments (of white men), we MIGHT agree that especially after the postmodern turn, historians look at large social structures more often. This is not an unreasonable assumption. But historians have been doing that for a long time as well (think the Annale School, for instance), To me, Fulbrook seems to belabor the point that historians are equally divided about what they focus on—and importantly, they aren’t explicit about why and that’s something she wants to change.
FALSE. Paradigms might suggest how to solve puzzles differently, but paradigms are CENTRAL to how historians decide the importance of human agency.
FALSE. Traditional history is premised on the (usually unstated) assumption that individuals drive history. The doctrine (or fundamental belief) of focusing on the individual is the REASON WHY traditional history was the standard way of operating.
FALSE. Fulbrook is clear that while structural approaches to history might minimize intentions of historical actors in general, almost all (structurally pre-disposted) historians still include them as part of the story and necessary for understanding.
FALSE, I think. She seems to qualify the influence of individuals over and over again to emphasize how they are a product of their time. She also repeats how we have obvious examples of individual agency that are hard to deny, but I think her preference is clear.
FALSE. Fulbrook IS clear that there is no universal approach to history, BUT ALSO clear that to assume the level analysis is simply determined by the subject matter misses the point and is wrong to do. BOTH perspectives have to be used in almost all cases of historical analysis.
FALSE. Fulbrook argues that what counts as an answer or a solution to a puzzle is wholly dependent on the paradigm that the historian uses to formulate the question and answer. She needs this to be false because she is trying to argue that by recognizing how historians are using paradigms (and of course historians need to be clearer about how they are) helps us determine which interpretations are better than others (and thus defeat postmodern critics who say all histories are valid).
The most wishy washy question. The point is that this example illustrates the power of paradigms. If you are a hard core social constructivist, this is FALSE, because scientists themselves are part of their cultural moment, and even the premise of clear biological distinctions between sex could be considered a product of culture. There could be another equally plausible assumption/paradigm that starts with the idea that all sex difference on a spectrum even if most people tend to be obviously one or the other. If your paradigm of the world defines science as objective and detached from culture, then you would say TRUE.
FALSE. For Fulbrook, the outer parameters are MORE important because being careful and explicit about understanding them make ideas move across paradigms. The core tenets of paradigms are often totally incompatible and don’t help us resolve competing interpretations. But when we recognize some overlap between interpretations based on different paradigms, Fulbrook might consider this to be “progress” in historical understanding.
FALSE. It applies to everything, as discussed in our wrap-up convo.
TRUE. At least mostly. We didn’t talk about this issue too much, but her theoretical description of how history works, coupled with her appeal to common sense and everyday life make a strong case for how not many people would have trouble recognizing the difference. I think she has in fact shown that just because some elements of history are fictive in the sense that just because a historian has to tell a story and stylize a narrative to make it more approachable (and interesting), doesn’t automatically mean all history necessarily has to be considered fiction, even if some extreme postmodern critics make that claim.