About History In The Making

The title History In The Making reflects the extraordinary times in which we now live, as we enter the third decade of the 21st century. We are at a significant point in global history, at least as ground-breaking as the Reformation or the discovery of America.

Of course the importance of these historical milestones became apparent only with the passage of time. It is virtually impossible to view a drama unfolding before our eyes with anything like the same perspective or detachment.

Nevertheless that is my own instinctive response to what is going on today in Ireland and around the world. In fact the word ‘extraordinary’ seems wholly inadequate to describe it.

In History In The Making I address a fundamental question: how and why did we get here?

About J.P. (“Jim”) Bruce

Now retired, not so long ago I was a mature student of history.

The various universities at which I studied insisted that our analyses and arguments be based on solid, verifiable evidence. Usually this meant some kind of documentary source to be found in a library, archive, or online. Occasionally archaeological evidence - a ruined castle or some other found artefact - would do. As long as the source had some kind of physical reality, then it was fine.

But as my studies progressed it became clear that there are many gaps in the historical record. For instance, the only evidence for the experience of those accused of witchcraft in the late Middle Ages is often the records created by their enemies, i.e. the legal establishment. Hardly an impartial source for anyone hoping to explore the topic comprehensively.

So the temptation for students and academics is to follow the sources rather than the subjects. Why waste a lot of time searching for evidence that might not exist when there are plenty of other well-trodden paths to follow? Unfortunately this means short shrift for groups such as native Americans, 18th-century Irish Catholic peasants, and medieval women, to name but three examples from history’s blind spots.

In this series, thankfully, I am not obliged to follow academic convention. At the same time I do not cast aside the scholarly rigour I learnt during my studies. Evidence, however circumstantial or indirect, is important to any position I take. But sometimes it is necessary to step outside the evidentiary record in order to illuminate a topic that would otherwise remain hidden.

To find out more about me, please visit https://jpbruce.ie/.

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My thoughts on how we got here.