I've been going over issues of The Guidon from 1956 to 1970 and doing so makes me understand a little bit what is meant by reflexivity. The Guidon of that period showed a world that was really different; debates making headlines, a strong American presence, Ateneans seemingly bolder than they are now.
While I read the articles, I notice things that are very different now or I notice things that began way back then or I locate individuals I know now in a different period in time and I understand them differently now.
If I step back from my thoughts, I begin to realize that while I am studying that particular period in time, I realize that I can only understand it from my point of view in the present. What I notice depends on that point of view. What I consider different depends on a definition of what is not-different. A person from that particular point in time might notice something different from what I did (or not notice what I noticed), much more a person from a completely different culture who is not an insider to the University even at the present.
So a reflection on the elements that I consider relevant to my understanding of the past tells me something about how I think at the present. I have a lens through which I see the past and yet, if I step back, I also become conscious of the lens itself through which I see, especially if I share with others what I see and they see something different.
In seeing something different, I begin to realize my way of being and my way of seeing that I have always taken for granted.