Historical politics and public history - Theory and methodology of history

Historical politics and public history

As noted, the applied field of memory studies - historical policy/policy of memory and public history.

Let's repeat the definition of the historical policy, about which we already wrote above:

Historical politics is a complex of cultural, educational and scientific events of a certain ideological orientation, aimed at the formation of certain historical ideas about the past, fixed in the mass historical consciousness of a certain social group.

In the context of this definition, it is erroneous to think that the historical policy is formed exclusively by the state. Of course, power is an important, but not the only player on the field of historical knowledge. It is also necessary to remember that in a democratic state there are always different ideas about the ideal/purpose of historical development of society, and different versions of historical memory and historical politics compete with each other.

In the study of the numerous mechanisms for the formation of the historical memory of the Modern Times and historical politics, attention is mainly paid to the study of history teaching in school and school history textbooks. The most fruitful is the attempt to analyze the educational material by correlating it with the main political discourses, which in turn assumes a certain detachment from the temptations of constructing history by the historiographer himself. Recently, there have been fruitful attempts to analyze and other (in addition to history textbooks) so-called normative texts (which are texts that are compulsory for mastering at school).

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Other public institutions such as the museum are reasonably considered another tool of memory policy. In the literature, the characteristics of the museum as a "mnemonic machine" are common; or material embodiment of collective memory , "public collectors ensuring the unity of society"; , Humanity Commemorative Book etc. In the context of modern memory studies the museum is an important center for the formation of the cultural and communicative memory of society.

The process of producing historical memory in the museum, of course, is associated with museums - items stored in this museum. The selection, documentation, primary study of objects for the museum collection are themselves limited and given certain cultural, economic and political goals and conditions. In the course of this process (muse), the object acquires the status of a museum and then becomes part of the heritage (or goes through the process of matrimonialization), getting to the exposition and acting as a means of teaching and the formation of a memory space in which a series of events and images are artificially recreated, giving the illusion of a common experience shared by a certain community " .

The museum space is seen as a tool for the formation of historical memory about the political realities of the Cold War era, a tool for the formation of national and regional identity, a tool for a tourist project based on the exploitation of the most popular historical images, etc.

In the context of the constructivist paradigm, a museum is an important element of a group and cultural identity that has social success only when it composes and ideologically meets the specific value requirements of society and consistently implements the memory policy in a specific group of objects. As the literature emphasizes, "museums as institutions of memory have an advantage over other cultural agents, they have a special emancipating dimension, i.e. can contribute to improving the lives of their communities, becoming places for lively debates, they generate meaningful visual and textual (pc) designs that are aimed at conveying certain messages, the goal of their improving the quality of life of society " .

Related to the museum institutions of social memory and historical politics - archives and library. In this regard should pay attention, for example, to the process of forming libraries-museums and museums-libraries, combining the collection and exposition of monuments of material and spiritual culture, that in the 2000s. took a mass character.

Another tool for the formation of historical memory and historical politics is commemoration. Commemorations include memorials, monuments, public holidays, anniversaries, funerals, etc.

As a rule, in the literature, commemorative practices are considered focally, i.e. in connection with the practices of mobilizing the memory of a particular event (within the concept of "memory spaces" Nora). Among the popular topics: the war of 1812, the Great Patriotic War. Interesting examples of studies that consider commemorative practices associated with tragic events, as a mechanism to overcome memory trauma.

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Peculiar commemoration - toponyms that mobilize the memory of certain personalities or events. Of course, historiography could not pass past toponymic wars of recent decades. In particular, the literature notes the "pragmatic" The approach of the modern United States government, which is in no hurry to rename, for example, the Soviet streets, and does not seek to impose any state ideology by toponymic methods. In this regard, another topic of discussion about the problems of burial (or re-burial) of historical figures is indicative.

Tourist activity as a social practice is closely connected with such important objects of historical politics as museum business, toponyms and commemoration, which also did not pass the attention of historiography. Thus, the literature shows the importance of memorialization of places of memory associated with the events of 1941-1945. and the creation of a visual series for military-patriotic travel and excursions in order to form a heroic-patriotic paradigm of the Great Patriotic War in the national memory. Among other sources of historical memory/instruments of historical politics that attract attention in the literature are fiction, cinema, media, historical painting, network content, rock music, etc.

The field of public history research, which, on the one hand, studies the mechanisms of the translation of historical representations in the public space (in school education, media, art, commemoration, architecture, etc.) is adjacent to the problem of the politics of memory and, on the other hand , seeks ways to adequately represent academic historical knowledge in the public sphere.

In this context, public history can be characterized as a kind of academic memory policy, the result of the desire of professional historiography to influence the mass historical consciousness, to bridge the gap between society and historical science. In other words, we can talk about the actual identity of the tools of historical politics and public history, which mainly includes certain mechanisms and methods for the formation of mass historical representations and historical memory.

It is important to keep in mind the applied aspect of the participation of professional historians both in historical politics and in public history. In both cases, we are talking about the implementation of a social/political order (or an analysis of its execution by other actors), but if in the case of traditional historical politics one can talk about constructing the image of history that is necessary for the customer, in the situation with academic historical politics/public history, the task historians-professionals other - to adapt historical knowledge to the needs of mass culture. It is another matter that in practice the inclusion of a historian in the sphere of public history by no means excludes the realization of a certain ideological order.

It should be noted that while working in the field of public history, the historian assumes the functions not only of the interpreter and analyst, but also the active creator of such sources of historical memory formation as historical reconstructions, computer games, media products, historical quizzes, movies, network content, commmation, etc. Thus, it is obvious that the space of public history includes professional historians not so much in the role of the main players, but as consultants working together with journalists, artists, writers, filmmakers, programmers, etc.

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