What is History? The Great Debate

A number of eminent historians discuss what is history and how is a national history constructed.

'Glory be', said Sir Keith Joseph, Secretary of State for Education, speaking to a meeting of those who study and teach history organised by the Historical Association, 'that our nation is saturated with history'. But what do we understand by a nation's history? What constitutes the canon of a society's historical knowledge? This is the focus of a debate about the content of history which contributes to current discussions on the value of teaching history and the defence of the subject in the face of education cuts in schools, universities and polytechnics. Forum this month is given over to a discussion of this vital subject with Roger Mettam discussing Sir Keith Joseph's contribution and Raphael Samuel, Christopher Hill, Carolyn Steedman and Tim Mason, echoing E.H. Carr, asking what is history and how is a national history constructed.


Roger Mettam...

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