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History through A Geographers Lenses - Essay Example

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In what sense do we say that the history of modern societies can be read as the history of their acceleration The answer is found in the understanding of what human history is and how it is made. Various social theories attempt to answer these two basic questions, and among the spectrum of answers proposed, I would venture to think the right answer builds on two basic points of certainty, one on top of the other: history is a record of human activities, and the history of modern societies is a record of how disparate activities of humans in society interacted in a common experience in time…
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History through A Geographers Lenses
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Download file to see previous pages 244). We can take this to mean that modern society began sometime in the late 1800s and early 1900s and last to this day.
What made the 19th century a turning point Van Doren further cites (p. 245) the progress resulting from the disruptive technological discoveries that took place, whether "it be new energy sources like oil and electricity, new means of living comforts like electric lights and cheap cast iron stoves, and new devices for communication on both a local and global scale such as the telegraph and the telephone." Several lenses are available to read the history of modern societies from that point on, and what we use will depend on one's point of interest. A student of geography like myself would use as my lenses the three dimensions most appropriate for the task: speed, space, and time.
From a geographer's viewpoint, one can see the development of modern society and its history in relation to how human activities affected and was affected by speed, space, and time. ...
human interaction by which ideas and information in the form of physical signals like words and actions are exchanged, was limited by space or distance and time. The time it would take for ideas to travel from one point of the globe to another depended on the (rather slow) speed of the carrier of the message, a combination of horses, ships, pigeons, or human runners before Morse discovered the telegraph in the mid-1800s. In some regions like the jungles of the Amazon or the wide plains of America and Europe, messages were carried across limited distances by drums and flags. The effectiveness and efficiency of these modes of communication were limited by distance, the speed of sound, and the sharpness of hearing and sight.
Prior to the discovery of the telegraph, sharing and receiving information and then taking action or giving feedback took a long time, which accounted for the slow pace of development of human history that is the result of the interaction of human activities. The telegraph changed all that by accelerating the exchange of information and increasing the pace of human interaction and, in its turn, the amount of human activity. What resulted was a snowballing of social consequences that gathered in size and the power to effect change.
The telegraph reduced space because it made human interaction across great distances possible, allowing people across the continents hundreds or thousands of miles apart to communicate and to initiate appropriate action. It also reduced time in a radical way, because by speeding up the exchange of information, it was possible to undertake human action sooner instead of wasting time while waiting for information and feedback to come.
However, the telegraph had one major drawback: information in the form of messages had ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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