History and the Present
Wed, 26th Apr, 1989
Delivered at Conway Hall 26 April 1989. Chaired by Mary Fulbrook.
Questions asked by historians usually reflect the periods in which the historians live. In modern times, the most significant factor in historiography has been the shift in interest from the study of power-groups to that of popular movements. This shift reflects the growth of a self-consciously democratic society.
It is a very important development, since the main task of the historian is to develop abroad social picture, one including a period’s culture, and especially its literature. Such material can be just as informative as so-called ‘objective’ sources.
Finally, an accurate study of history requires abandoning nationalistic prejudices, and honestly facing the dark side of one’s country’s past.