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Use of History in Recent Public Debates

Online (Zoom), August 12, 2020, 16.00-18.00 (Romanian time, in English)

Looking back at controversial historical episodes has become a widely spread reference point in nowadays public debates and politics. Recently, monuments of figures like Christopher Columbus were targeted and destroyed during protests against racism in the US. Another example is the historical drama miniseries Chernobyl produced by HBO that triggered a debate on historical objectivity in the summer of 2019. Looking at Eastern Europe, one could observe how assessing the legacy of communism has become an integral part of political discourse after 1989.

The webinar addresses the following questions: how to critically approach a discussion on a historical topic with political implications? How to distinguish historical facts from misinformation? During the online meeting we will identify specific strategies and practical skills in critically reading historical information circulated in the public sphere. The webinar invites participants from various fields without a background in history to examine together a specific case-study, tracking the use and misuse of history in a recent public debate. The focus will be the nuclear accident in Chernobyl in 1986 and all participants will receive a set of historical and media sources related to the case.


Georgi Georgiev
Departments/units: Summer School 2020; Educational Programs Department; Research Department, Policy and Outreach Department, Young Researchers Club

Region: Central and Eastern Europe

Topics: History, Communism and Totalitarianism, Freedom of speech

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