Monday, January 17, 2011

Controversies real and invented

If you haven't had your fill recently of historians smackin' each other down, start with Gordon Wood's sneering dismissal of Jill Lepore in the New York Review of Books, and then move on to Tenured Radical's blazing riposte to Wood on her blog.  If that's not enough, Cliopatria has an extensive listing of other participants in the controversy.

Meanwhile Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum, which mostly doesn't do Canadian history at all, seeks to put bums in seats with a series it is promoting as History Wars.  The ROM's lack of sophistication in the field shows. Its topics are mostly civics and current events rather than history, and the historians involved all seem to be retired. It ain't exactly cutting-edge history the city's leading research museum is promoting. But the evenings will be lively, I suspect, and  probably standing room only.  Last fall, the "History Matters" project actually had serious talks around Toronto featuring working historians and new research, and they seemed to get a great response. The audience for history is always there, much as we deny it.
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