Cross-posted from Bloomsbury History
We all know that history isn’t just about facts; any historical event can be interpreted in a variety of different ways, and these interpretations can be used intentionally to serve particular interests and agendas – agendas which are often set by the state. A national museum, for example, is not a neutral presentation of that country’s history, but its exhibitions are constructed in order to present that nation’s historical self-image. The Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore – although housed in a building named in honour of Queen Victoria – makes little reference to British imperial rule, instead aiming to reconnect Singapore with its Chinese and Indian cultures of origin. Similarly, Hanoi’s National Museum of Vietnamese History provides a defence of Communism and independence by providing accounts of French imperial cruelty.
These and many other examples from across the globe are discussed in Jeremy Black’s latest book, Contesting History: Narratives of Public History, which we are proud to have published this month. The book provides an authoritative guide to the positive and negative applications of the past in the public arena and what this signifies for the meaning of history more widely. Continue reading “Contesting History with Jeremy Black”