The practice of history, however, is not a zero sum game in which historians can isolate themselves from outside influences. The research, writing and teaching of academic, policy-oriented, and popular history are deeply political, social and ideological pursuits. Whether historical research is intended to ‘add value’ or ‘make an impact’ is only one component of many that shape historical perspective.
Often the public face of history is seen in museums or government issued historical plaques; but important historical narratives also exist outside of these structures, and they often tell stories that otherwise remain obscure or hidden by more official ways of historical story telling. I call this way of sharing the past street history.
As the university of Sussex restricts its history curriculum to post-1700 English history and post-1900 European history. How important is early-Canadian history to current issues facing Canadian society? And how does research on early-Canadian history compare with the study of later periods?
Today Foreign Ministers from the ‘Friends of Haiti Group’ are meeting with Jean-Max Bellerive in Montreal to discuss both the current situation in Haiti and longer term plans for the country’s stabilization and reconstruction. As they discuss Haiti’s future, it is important for them to also consider Haiti’s past.
Conflict often arises between how professional and non-professional historians interpret the past. Broader participation in academic conferences can help to resolve this. Three upcoming conferences in 2010 are discussed.
The recent release of the primer for the Canadian citizenship test, Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship, has been met with much praise. Many historians, however, are not so laudatory.