Carr Vs Elton Analysis

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The debate between E.H. Carr and G.R. Elton signifies the conflict between the “Old School” of historical studies and the Revisionist model. Carr proposes that there exists within historical studies the need for interpretation, and that there is no such thing as a universalized “truth” or “fact”. This is evocative of the Postmodernist phenomenon to critique and rethink approaches to history, which I will discuss later in this paper. Elton, on the other hand, emphasizes the universal “truth” within historical studies. He insists that there is no such thing as “subjectivity”, and all facts within historical sources are indeed just that – facts. History is composed of an objective reality that can neither be interpreted in different ways nor can …show more content…
Carr’s model is representative of the contemporary study of history and allows for interpretation whereas Elton’s model is an antiquated one and does not allow for in-depth analyses of historical events or discourse. In this paper I will examine the need and mode for Carr’s model in contemporary historiographical studies. Elton, although distinguishing history from the natural sciences, proposes a scientific rationalization of historical studies which suggests that there is one “truth” that can be discovered in a historical context. Elton encompasses the “social” scientific school which seeks to explain human action through quantitative analysis, which are the “facts” that he proposes. He assigns this quantitative value to the “truths” which he believes is evident in sources. I stated previously that this is an antiquated model because it does not acknowledge the role of power …show more content…
Carr represents an alternative path for the academy to become more inclusive of other histories, whereas Elton’s model relies on the perpetuation of old ideas. Moreover, Elton’s model only allows for a single, universalized understandings of historical texts. This is very counterproductive to understanding history, as that would only allow for a single perspective to be taught and disseminated. Elton likes to approach sources uncritically, and cherish the “truth” within them without contextualizing where it comes from, etc. to the point where Carr refers to it as a “fetish”. Yes, sources are important. Yes, it is important to acknowledge the truth found within these sources, however one must still be critical of these sources. There are no natural “facts” within history. These facts are purely constructed by interpreters are history. To this extent, I completely disagree with Elton. Truth isn’t discovered, it is

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