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The political role of the historian

Motadel, David (2023) The political role of the historian. Contemporary European History, 32 (1). 38 - 45. ISSN 0960-7773

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0960777322000716


Debates about history have never been strictly confined to the world of scholarship. They have also been at the centre of political controversies in society. 'The problem for professional historians', Eric Hobsbawm once observed, 'is that their subject has important social and political functions'.1 'This duality', he noted, 'is the core of our subject'. This essay offers some reflections on the political role of historians, exploring the relationship between their scholarly work and their involvement in political debates. A closer look at the issue shows that it is not so much a problem as an opportunity for historians to engage with their subject on various levels, from the realm of scholarship to the realm of contemporary politics, which makes their position in society both more complex and more critical.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author
Divisions: International History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2022 09:54
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 03:50

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