History and Morality

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract

Against majority opinion within his profession, Donald Bloxham argues that it is legitimate, often unavoidable, and frequently important for historians to make value judgements about the past. History and Morality draws on a wide range of historical examples, and its author's insights as a practicing historian. Examining concepts like impartiality, neutrality, contextualisation, and the use and abuse of the idea of the past as a foreign country, Bloxham's book investigates how far tacit moral judgements infuse works of history, and how strange those histories would look if the judgements were removed. The author argues that rather than trying to eradicate all judgemental elements from their work, historians need to think more consistently about how, and with what justification, they make the judgements that they do. The importance of all this lies not just in the responsibilities that historians bear towards the past - responsibilities to take historical actors on those actors' own terms and to portray the impact of those actors' deeds - but also in the role of history as a source of identity, pride, and shame in the present. The account of moral thought in History and Morality has ramifications far beyond the activities of vocational historians.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages336
ISBN (Print)9780198858713
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2020

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