Study of History

A famous Russian writer Edward Radzinsky says that there’s no such discipline as history. History, he says, is today’s politics projected onto the past.

It’s true that no discipline is as blatantly ideological as history.

4 thoughts on “Study of History

  1. “no such discipline…History, he says, is today’s politics projected onto the past…”

    How is this different from the view that the search for historical truth is a mere illusion as truth is relative to one’s political stance? If all is politics, it is supposed, then history is just a projection of politics.

    But if history is just a projection of politics, then so must it equally be with everything else in life – art, literature, sociology, political science, knitting, golf, parcheesi, pizza, carpentry, medicine, Harry Potter…

    Leftover pizza, he says, is the politics of food choice projected onto yesterday’s diet.

    reductio ad absurdum

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    1. I think that striving for objectivity in writing about history is a great idea. But almost nobody makes the effort. Other disciplines can be ideological, too, but I’ve never seen one as ideological as history. Especially with books published recently, it’s almost always stupid, one-sided propaganda.

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      1. This is why when I teach history, I almost never assigned any history textbooks. Instead, we read what people who lived at the time of the events had to say about them.

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  2. “almost nobody makes the effort…”

    I will readily concede that historians have always interrogated yesterday’s facts with today’s questions but as a general rule about the discipline not “striving for objectivity,” I don’t buy it.

    That being said, it is very true that today’s wokester historians do write “stupid, one-sided propaganda” because for them historical “truth” is derived from religious precepts and counterfactuals are always heresy.

    “…never seen one as ideological as history”

    Dunno about that – modern sociology has had many decades of experience in refining half-truths and outright lies about historical facts into an art form of pompous, jargon-filled cant.

    (If I had been quicker on my feet above, I would have said that leftover pizza is the tyrannical politics of yesterday’s food choices being imposed onto today’s menu.)

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