Monday, January 17, 2005

Being a practitioner of language teaching and learning, I am particularly susceptible to the power of words. While the postmodern beckons convincingly, my favorite Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm writes:

History needs to be defended against those who deny its capacity to help us understand the world, and because new developments in the sciences have transformed the historiographical agenda.

Methodologically, the major negative development has been the construction of a set of barriers between what happened in history and our capacity to observe and understand it. It is denied that there is any reality that is objectively there and not constructed by the observer for different and changing purposes. It is claimed that we can never penetrate beyond the limitations of language.

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