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View Diary: America, the artifact (211 comments)

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  •  As a professional historian, kudos on this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, yaque, MichaelNY

    It's readable and riveting, and gets right at the heart of how much we don't know.  It's hard to get students to understand that the turning the "unknown unknowns" into "known unknowns" is in some ways as important a step as transforming them into "knowns."  (Sorry for the Rumsfeldism there.)  

    I teach pre-1800 Africa, so we run into a variety of similar misconceptions--though unlike North America, even with the horrors of slavery and war enough survives to rebuild the past of these great empires and understand their achievements, including vast cities, highly complex engineering and agriculture, and trade networks extending thousands of miles (sometimes all the way to China).  Were it that we could do the same for the Americas--although fortunately many are working on just those questions now.  The stories we know are fascinating, but what we don't know would make them pale in comparison.

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