Responsible History

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Berghahn Books, Dec 1, 2008 - History - 292 pages

“I can warmly recommend Responsible History to any concerned historian in need of a reliable compass for responsible conduct. I endorse Voltaire’s words quoted in this book: ‘Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.’ Responsible conduct is necessary because irresponsible conduct is dangerous.” [From the Foreword.]

The abuse of history is common and quite possibly once more on the rise. Although this is well documented, there is no general theory that enables historians to identify, prove, explain, and evaluate the many types of abuse of history. In this book, the author, founder of the Network of Concerned Historians, presents such a theory. Reflecting on the responsible use of history, the author identifies the duties that the living has toward the dead and analyzes the rights to memory and history necessary to fulfill these duties. He concludes his powerful argument by proposing a code of ethics as a guide for responsible historians. This work is vital for any historian who wants to oppose and prevent the abuse of history.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Part IIrresponsible History
7
Chapter 1A Theory of the Abuse of History
9
Chapter 2The Dictators Secret Archives
49
Chapter 3Defamation Cases against Historians
72
Part IIResponsible History
109
Chapter 4Duties of the Living to the Dead
111
Chapter 5The Rights to Memory and History
144
Chapter 6A Code of Ethics for Historians
173
Epilogue
197
Notes
199
Bibliography
241
Index
259
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Antoon De Baets, educated at the University of Ghent, Belgium, is a historian at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. In recent years, he has written mainly on censorship of history and ethics of historians, including Censorship of Historical Thought: A World Guide, 1945–2000 (Greenwood Press, 2002). He co-ordinates the Network of Concerned Historians and has been published in seven languages.

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