Sunday 4th October – 4pm
History matters, we know that. Evidence of its importance is all around us, in our films, bookshops, days of remembrance, political discourse and, as has recently been underlined, statues. But why does it matter? Why do people write it and read it? Here there is less consensus. My talk, like my book Why History? A History, begins at the earliest days of the western historical tradition, in ancient Greece, and charts the range of justifications that existed at that time for studying the past. It then considers changes and important continuities in these justifications across time, up to the present. Not only do many different rationales for history exist alongside each other today, some of these rationales are in tension with one another, and some of the most important tensions are considered in the conclusion of the talk.
Donald Bloxham is Richard Pares Professor of History at the University of Edinburgh
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The Portobello Bookshop