Tuesday, May 15, 2012

From Kalamazoo -- Miniature Manifestos

A new feature of the Kalamazoo conference this year -- the International Congress on Medieval Studies -- were some very short presentations by people talking about issues that really mattered to them.

Here's a piece from Historian on the Edge that spoke to me:
Item: History is not ‘relevant’
History does not tell us ‘how we got here’
History’s value lies in:
i. not believing what you’re told;
ii. understanding that the world didn’t – and doesn’t – have to be like this: there are other ways of doing things
                                       
iii. Ethical and political stances are implicit in both; to which we must be committed
History has no monopoly on these; what sets it apart from other arts, humanities and social sciences might uncontroversially be said to be its focus upon concrete situations and completed actions
And yet it is there that lies the aporia we must explore

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