This intervention addresses the advantages and disadvantages of practicing public history, especially on-line. The advantages of the digital culture that prevails in public history can be detrimental.
The rapid development of electronic media, including social networks, is forcing new behaviours, including dealing with public history.
In order to understand the impact of cyberspace on human morality one has to begin by rebutting the liberal distinction between the private and the public.
Paul Feyerabend’s essay “Against method” (1975) is rarely mentioned when scientists try to contextualise and justify their research projects. Or at least I have never come across...
Public historians and history educators both aim at “reaching the world outside the academy”. They face some common dilemmas, part. in Holocaust education. The...
In the culture of politics and history, racism is a thoroughly over-used term. It belongs neither to political nor to cultural-scientific lines of thought, and its meaning has been poorly defined.
Of the many variants that terrorism has adopted during the last two and a half centuries, I will focus on terrorism in the 21st century and its relationship to history, especially public history. Terrorist groups such as Islamic State use the destruction of cultural heritage to rub out historical, religious, and cultural memory. Terrorist attacks reach further than the choruses of outrage in Western countries, which first come to mind, might suggest. This said, there is obviously more to this than just “history of terrorism” or “terrorism in a historical perspective” or “terrorism in history”. Terrorism is an agent of public history.
Focus: Public History made by Terrorists
If we consider only the destruction of cultural goods, these would be acts of cultural barbarism, but not more.
“Do not bear false witness against your neighbour” (Ex 20:16) is the 8th commandment. The New Testament tells us, unmistakeably: “But let your statement be ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.” (Mt 5:37). Without a doubt: God wants us to be truthful in what we say and do! What does this mean for politics? In a democracy, voters expect, on the one hand, that politicians tell the truth; on the other hand, politicians often weigh up whether a gentler handling of the “absolute truth” would be more humane. The desire for truth poses great challenges for both politicians and voters!
Explicit discussions of ethical issues were previously virtually unknown in the historical sciences of German language. Ethical problem areas are usually only broached implicitly, as elements of (academic) controversy. But in doing so, fundamental complex ethical problems in this field are then, at least, flushed to the surface. Systematic approaches that try to lay open the sore points and to anchor them in terms of professionalization in the relevant studies and training are scarce.
Ethics as an aside
During seminars in which I have offered “history consulting” as well as the opportunity to discuss ethical aspects of public history, the majority of students reacted with a lack of interest. This lack of interest seemed similar to what we know from discussions in professional circles.
Heidegger’s ‘Schwarze Hefte(n)’ have generated some recent controversy. Here, I should like to very briefly deal with the problem of ‘historicity’ and what this means for ‘public history’. The politics of Heidegger’s place in the humanist tradition …
Heidegger’s ‘Schwarze Hefte(n)’ have generated some recent controversy. Here, I should like to very briefly deal with the problem of ‘historicity’ and what this means for ‘public history’. The politics of Heidegger’s place in the humanist tradition continues to generate controversy. Undoubtedly the Schwarze Hefte(n) have succeeded in clarifying aspects of Heidegger’s work, and in light of that we can ask: what is the relevance in terms of telling us anything new about Heidegger’s view of history/historicity; and what does it mean in terms of our understanding of the place of human beings in history?