'My Intellectual Autobiography.'
As historians we have to remember that historical knowledge cannot be objective, although the Positivists would have us believe otherwise. This is because they believe that historians should strictly segregate fact and value, which is impossible. The reasons are that the assumptions and attitudes of historians themselves influence their interpretation of history. Our life experiences, values and beliefs influence the way in which we research and piece together evidence. Historians are no different from any other member of society and therefore they are subject to social values and assumptions. These vary from age to age and what one age finds worthy to note in the past may not be shared by another age. My own experiences in the society I live in and the values and beliefs that I have grown up with will alter my perception of history and my interests will influence what area of history I will be directed towards.
There are several factors that can influence a historian; the ones pertinent to my life experience are as follows: religion, education, gender, politics, and what affects these are my experiences, for example the death of my daughter and the death of my father's mother when he was very young. These directly influence my beliefs in religion and my values as a woman.
My opinion of any religion is very cynical I find it extremely difficult to open my mind. This would seriously hinder me in researching certain past societies that are based on religion, I would not be able to fully comprehend the mentalite of the time, with their dependence on religion. The reasons for this are two-fold. My parents have different attitudes towards religion, my mother being a Christian and my father being an atheist. This led to their children not being christened...