Wednesday, December 31, 2008

History needs a regulator? Like the Web?

David Cannadine is now Sir David. But what about "history" in the era of "zeitgeist history".

...Professor Cannadine has just published a book in which he maintains that the morale of professional historians (whose collective name in AL Rowse’s time was reputedly “a poison”, and is now supposedly “a malice”) is at an all-time low. Andrew Roberts, another Downing Street invitee, agrees. He has called for a regulatory authority for historians and suggests it could be called Ofhist. Its task would be to protect what he designates “proper historians” from incursions by “amateurs” into writing history books, and to restrain literary editors from commissioning “Clist celebs” and the writers of “chick lit” to review such historians’ work.

So, where does the truth lie? Are historians the repository of the nation’s past wisdom, essential policy wonks’ adjuncts? Or an endangered species in need of protection from today’s nasty, dumbed-down world? Let’s attempt a historian’s answer: it depends where you stand. Certainly, if that’s in most parts of Europe, the answer would be that the reputation of British historians has never been higher.

From The Times earlier this year.


Kevern said...

Hi Robin, I've just been trying to track you down.

Hope all's good - looks like you've been doing some very interesting stuff. I wanted to tell you about JookBoxFury - thought you might be interested -

Hope to make contact sometime.
Kevern (as in CGU)

Robin Hunt said...

There's a Facebook link below on the left, just send me a message there.