If we take age into account as a category of historical analysis, as Steven Mintz proposes, what new and different questions might we ask about historical events? What would be the challenges in incorporating a consideration of age into historical narratives? What would be the rewards?
If considering age as a category of historical analysis, there will be many questions to ask. How important was age of a historical person in the past? How would history look like if children were as important as today? When it comes to age, it divides into different categories of life stages. However the duration of the life stages and number of those stages have change drastically over the time. For instance, Life stages included two parts, childhood and adulthood in the past. I have heard it many times from elders saying; “I was a child”, when they were questioned “ so how old were you when that happened to you?” Then I did calculation on their age based on the previous stories they told, and found out they were either teenager or in their youth at time. The stage of childhood was much shorter than today and adulthood and its responsibilities started in as early as nine or ten or even earlier. Turning into an adult in the early age did not leave much time for the child to enjoy the childhood period and left confusion for them whether they were child or adult. Or they were children who were acting as adults because they were expected to behave like adults.
Adding another category such as age to the history could bring complication in understanding it. Thinking of a time that people did not care about age much, did not celebrate their birthday every year, and if there was not a birth certificate, they probably did not know their age exactly either, world seemed to be all about adults and children were the faded side. It would be difficult to find out one’s age from the historical evidence. Also lack of similarities with today’s age stages makes it almost impossible to compare. Accuracy of the age could be a challenge as well as lack of evidence in some cases. Another obstacle would be that the existing historical studies might have to be redefined in order to use age as a new dimension. Children were mostly the objectives in history, because they were the younger children, the older children who could speak for themselves were probably already considered grown. This makes it difficult to understand the age in the past.
When it comes to family and childhood history, it is important to know what stage of life each event occurred to the person, and it will also help in putting the pieces together easier and more accurately. It will allow comparison between a…