Vitality and Anxiety

For readers of this magazine the quality of the articles presented in its pages month by month will have provided, one hopes, ample evidence for the continuing intellectual vitality of historical scholarship, and indeed ample confirmation of the value of communicating this to the widest possible audience.

What that vigour may serve actually to conceal, however, is the deepening anxiety which most teachers of history, at every level, now feel about the future status of their subject within the British educational scene.

Among my own current responsibilities is the convenership of the History at the Universities Defence Group. This was set up in 1982 under the aegis of the Historical Association, as one form of response to the pressure being exerted by the University Grants Committee for a significant measure of contraction in humanities provision. The fear which the founders then expressed about undue harm being done to the institutional basis for historical teaching and research at this level has since been accentuated in at least two ways.

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