Monday, June 10, 2024

Historians with bodyguards

This story in The Guardian made me sit up and take notice.  

The impact of this culture war on individual historians has sometimes been devastating. It’s a matter of record and a cause of national shame that one of Britain’s most respected historians, David Olusoga, has to employ a bodyguard at some speaking events. I largely stopped doing events for adults for a period because the abuse had become routine. And then there is Prof Corinne Fowler, who co-authored a 2020 report for the National Trust on its estates’ ties to the East India Company and transatlantic slavery and was subjected to a barrage of hate.

Sathnam Sanghera, historian of Britain's empire in India and author of The Empireland, writes how a muscular defence by public figures of a traditional English history of the glories of empire and all the great English heroes has inspired actual threats to historians who practice the history of empire and slaveholding from a different perspective.     

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