Monday, November 17, 2014

"Thick" v. "Thin" History

There is a distinct difference in the tone of my first two posts ("Welcome to . . ." and "Parallel Lives . . .") that may best be explained by recognizing the difference between "thick" and "thin" history.  My first post, which is replicated in the "About Plato's Athena" page, is an example of "thick" history in which I seek to present a complete alternative narrative to that of the mainstream.  My "Parallel Lives . . ." post is an example of "thin" history in which I seek to provide an alternative to a single aspect of the mainstream narrative.  Thick histories are far easier to attack because they are so rich in detail, but even thin histories are open to attack, if only to accuse the author of being a postmodern nihilist.

I plan to routinely switch back and forth between thick and thin history because each approach serves a different function.  I think we deserve an alternative narrative, which only thick history can provide, but we also deserve a rock solid foundation to that alternative narrative, which only thin history can provide.  I will try to classify and tag posts by whether they are thick or thin.

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