Monday, July 14, 2014

Point of View and Values

In many ways, when you conduct point of view analysis you are basically identifying and labeling what a person values and tying these values to ideas and positions the person holds, or appears to hold. A value is a concern or a priority.

When someone talks or acts, you often need to use their words and actions as a basis for inferring their values. Typically, a person will not say ‘I value x’, but they may say or do something that leads you to believe that they value x. When you read ‘like an historian’, you are looking for clues that you can use to infer values.

Once you read for POV, you will find yourself becoming much more active and engaged than you were prior to adopting this approach. If you are like many students, your old method of reading may have amounted to little more than trying to remember everything you read, which is a futile task.

The more you become comfortable conducting source work, the more you will grasp that studying history is about much more than learning facts for tests. You will start to become sensitive to the philosophical debates and value conflicts that are often at the core of many social issues, in the past and in the present. This, in my opinion, is one of the main reasons there is value in studying the past.

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