The Public Uses of History

Ethics, Education, and Historical Consciousness

Thu, 11/17/2011
Noon, Kerstetter Room, Marx Hall
Event Category: 
Co-sponsored Event

At a time when the humanities and at least some of the social sciences are under enormous pressure to justify their roles in higher education, we want to ask what, if any, contribution history is supposed to make to normative political theory, present-day political analysis, and, not least, civic education.  Is it to provide exemplars, analogies, or, for that matter, caution against analogies?  Is it to orient ourselves towards 'realism', or is it perhaps to resist any explicit 'presentism' and rather counter what many critics see as a rapid and pervasive decline in historical consciousness (a view that critics of the critics would disqualify as unwarranted cultural pessimism)?  What forms of 'public outreach', if any, would be appropriate for the different normative agendas historians might adopt?


  • Balázs Trencsènyi, History, Central European University, Budapest
  • David A. Bell, History, Princeton University
  • Melissa Lane, Politics, Princeton University

Chair: Jan-Werner Mueller, Politics, and Founding Director, Project in the History of Political Thought, UCHV, Princeton University

Cosponsored with the Project in the History of Political Thought, University Center for Human Values.