This series of public lectures at the IHR takes off from an extraordinary (and potentially dangerous) paradox. On the one hand, ‘history’ seems to be more popular than ever: in schools and universities, on film, TV and the internet, in sales of historical biographies, visitor numbers to heritage sites, the growth of family history, re-enactment societies and the like.
Yet we also live in an aggressively here-and-now culture in which many people seem to lack any real understanding of how the present is linked to all that has preceded it. Thus, major current issues are frequently discussed with little sense of their longer-term historical roots: migration policy, for example, or continued British membership of the EU or Russian involvement in Ukraine. As Jo Guldi and David Armitage argued in their ‘History Manifesto’(published in 2014), it is vital to understand the past if we are to have any chance of planning sensibly for the future.
The next History Now and Then lecture will take place on Wednesday 7 November 2016 in the Wolfson Conference Suite at the Institute of Historical Research. Click on the register tab to book your place.
7 December 2016: The Focus of History
18:00-19:30 (followed by refreshments)
Much history is national history. But should ‘history’ focus on the nation? Or the locality – or maybe the wider world? Or on ‘things’? And should it have a short, precisely defined temporal focus – or a longer durée?