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Writing History ‘From Above’ or ‘From Below’?

To what extent is history a reflection of the reality of the past? Many have lamented the absence of voices of those "written about". They share stories about them rather than by them, as though they were all passive spectators in history. Such concern is, of course, valid. It is deplorable that in many cases those who are spoken (or claimed to be known) about, have not been writers of what is claimed to be known of the past.

Yet, beyond this concern is another one: what is the role of historians in the process of writing, analysing, and informing about the past? This quote (someone please let me know if you can identify the source!) is compelling:

"…historians have been much occupied in writing history "from below" as it is said. But it is also easy to err in the opposite direction, to discredit or belittle the history that was made from above."

Can history be made ‘from above’ in a manner that is equitable and accurate? Even if it can be done, should it be?

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