White, Male, Upper Class Individuals Dominate The Canon Of Western History

1456 Words Dec 1st, 2016 6 Pages
Writings by white, male, upper-class individuals dominate the canon of Western History. While such a dominance does not negate their scholarship, the voices of the marginalized—women, the poor and ethnic minorities—are not represented in this limited historical viewpoint. Many mid-20th century historians felt that there was a need to counter this inequality of representation. For example, E.P. Thompson, Clifford Geertz and Natalie Zemon Davis each generated works that revealed the history of a previously marginalized group. Despite their different areas of expertise, the academics ' approaches are essentially compatible, insofar as they exhibit the same ultimate goal—giving a voice to the marginalized—and compensate for each other’s shortcomings. Thus, in consulting their works collectively, the historian is presented with a more accurate and balanced history.
In 1963, British historian E.P. Thompson published his pivotal work The Making of the English Working Class. In writing this piece, Thompson hoped to "rescue the poor stockinger, the Luddite cropper, the "obsolete" hand-loom weaver, the "utopian" artisan, and even the deluded follower of Joanna Southcott, from the enormous condescension of posterity." In other words, he wished to tell the history of the individual working class man or woman as it happened, free from the usual patronizing interpretation of the historian. He suggests that the typical historian does not accord the English working class enough agency;…

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