Sunday, 29 June 2008

Writing history

Not an easy job to write any sort of history, the more you start to think about it. The academy plays with its inherited aura of impartiality while, these days at least, pointing out how such a thing is impossible. Perhaps so long as it’s only the ‘private’ biases of scholars that are served that doesn’t really matter. But what about when other interests are served by the partiality of scholars? There are so many contested historical sites and sites of contested history around these days – and disentangling the voices can seem impossible.

Certain large mountainous areas in the south west of a certain large Asian nation, for example. Certain ex-Soviet republics, both in an out of contemporary Russia, for example. Certain Mediterranean islands and highly-charged Mediterranean coastal strips, for instance.