Nonlinearity in Historical Writings, Topic of a Seminar in the Center

On Saturday, May 21, 2023, the center organized an academic seminar. During the seminar, researcher Khalid Bin Ghanim Al Maadeed introduced the nonlinear method in historical writings. He mentioned that many historians used to employ the linear method, which was the accepted approach for writing historical events. This method is based on analytical narrative descriptions in writing history and interpreting the historical events they deal with in their writings. It focuses on the direct elements of events and relies on an analytical approach that may not connect all elements together. Starting his topic, the lecturer posed several questions such as: can we develop a different methodology capable of analyzing matters in a more complex and diverse manner, without relying on simplifying historical events and focusing solely on their direct elements? Is there a way that is better suited for studying humanities and social sciences, employing a higher level of thinking? This implies transitioning from the linear method to a nonlinear one, which involves a non-simplified approach that re-evaluates events based on their direct and potential elements. This relies to a large extend on the researcher's potentials and his ability to establish connections between them.

In reply to those questions, the lecturer stated that issues of humanities and social sciences are highly intricate systems, as they arise from a complex interdependent relationship between individuals and the subjects of study. Moreover, the phenomenon of humanities and social sciences are multifaceted, with numerous overlapping factors, making it impossible to isolate a single element as the most influential. The lecturer believes that we lack a methodology to effectively analyze and unravel these complexities, rather than understanding them. We need a methodology whose complicity matches with the complexities of the issues into which humanities and social sciences look. He noted that the suggested methodology may not provide the definitive solution, but it could prove to be valuable in supporting researchers in their studies within the field of humanities and social sciences. Therefore, he believes that this methodology has the potential to be beneficial in such studies.

The lecturer then proceeded to discuss the complicated systems, their constituent elements, the nature of relationships between them, and the accompanying features, where he reached the conclusion that a complex system consists of numerous interconnected and diverse elements that operate both independently and interdependently. Moreover, he highlighted that such a system is self-regulating, as its internal interactions instantly produce new systems or relationships at various levels with characteristics differ from those of the interacting elements. He emphasized that this system is not static; instead, its elements are in constant interaction and contact. The system takes a network-like shape outwardly and engages and interacts with all surrounding circumstances. Furthermore, it is accompanied by a state of chaos that facilitates the emergence of new systems or relationships. Finally, by applying this approach to the campaign of Feisal Bin Turki against Qatar in 1851, he sought to answer the question: how can the suggested methodology be advantageous in rewriting historical events? To do so, he analyzed the diverse elements involved, their interconnected relationships, and the continuous interactions between them, which resulted in in the emergence of new systems and relationships.

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