2010 Programme: Battle for the Past
Nobody would disagree we must study history, but debates about how to teach it reveal disagreements about why it matters. And disputes over the ownership of historical artefacts show the past is often discussed in very contemporary terms. Are we too quick to find contemporary relevance in the distant past? Have we turned the historical fact of the Holocaust into a modern morality tale? Do we fail to learn from the past if we refuse to appreciate how different the ancient world was? And in a fast-changing world in which novelty is a supreme virtue, why does the past matter?