Since February 2009 , this blog and Huib's 3 other Euroblogs are together at:

- In Europa Zu Hause [DE]
- L'Europe Chez Soi [FR]
- At Home in Europe [EN]
- In Europa Thuis [NL]

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Poverty of History

"Make Poverty History!" - For me, a historian, history means poverty: bad wages for teachers, worse pay for researchers, not to mention librarians and archivists ...

But that is not what I meant to say. It is about poor treatment of history here.

Handling history is telling a story that creates a useful myth. A common myth. A myth to share between religious believers, members of a tribe, citizens of a city or a country.

Nationalist myths, in so far as they are secular (the religious nationalist ones are not always disguised as history), have been the main products of history-writing during the last two centuries. Even though we should not forget the dialectic-materialist historical myths that nurtured Stalinism and Maoism. We may consider them a specific variant of nationalist myth-producing. In a slightly indirect way, they produced also blinding nationalist myths, supporting feelings of racial and/or national superiority, viz. compensation of inferiority complexes.

On another location (nl), I will try to handle an extraordinary outburst of nostalgic national history bunk in a specific country, post-Fortuynist Holland.
Exploiting a historical myth (clash of civilisations): Members of a delegation of the American Enterprise Institute, visiting a Rotterdam Mosque as guests of the Dutch Conservative "Burke Stichting" (June 2005, Photos NRC Handelsblad)

Here will follow a critical review of French MP De Villepin's rewriting of Napoleonic history and of post-9/11 American hysteric history.

Rich countries - poor myths.

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