“Historian Patricia Limerick: We can’t change history, but we can change how we understand it” | The Seattle Times

Historians need to do a better job explaining the complexities and vastness of history to non-historians. To many Americans, any change in familiar historical narratives amounts to revisionism (by which they basically mean a re-writing of history not based on evidence but on ideological preferences). Of course, we should all be concerned  with false revisionism, but history is by its very nature is revisionist. We encounter new evidence, we expand what we know by including new perspectives (women, the poor, minorities, etc.), and through debates between historians. Early historical narratives are constructed with minimal evidence for purposes that have nothing to do with honest historical evaluation.

In her interview, Limerick, explained, “History doesn’t change, but a better understanding of it can change a person. And she said history is relevant to the problems we face today because good hindsight can lead to better foresight.” Hopefully Limerick’s message will be heard!

Source: Historian Patricia Limerick: We can’t change history, but we can change how we understand it | The Seattle Times

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