History Nugget #11: April 2019

“Rather than trying to understand the past on its own terms, these historians want the past to be immediately relevant and useful; they want to use history to empower people in the present, to help them develop self-identity, or to enable them to break free of that past.”

“In their well-intentioned but often crude efforts to make the past immediately usable, these scholars undermine the integrity and the pastness of the past.”

Gordon S. Wood on many cultural historians from:

Wood, Gordon S. The Purpose of The Past: Reflections on the Uses of History. (New York: The Penguin Press, 2008).p8

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