Posts Tagged ‘David Armitage’

Passing name-check for Thucydides in this morning’s Grauniad, as the first example of a historian seeking to draw general lessons for the present from the past, in David Armitage‘s plea for politicians and government to pay more attention to historians in making sense of the world and hence make better policy. The effect was slightly spoiled, at least for me, by the fact that the next sentence mentioned Cicero’s line about ‘history the teacher of life, as it instantly brought to mind Reinhart Koselleck’s brilliant article about the dissolution of the historia magistra vitae topos in the modern era – an article I tend to reference at the drop of a hat partly because of the wonderful Thucydides anecdote with which it opens (which I’ve now quoted often enough to give it a rest now) but partly because of its incisive analysis of the modern consciousness of time and change – which, sadly for Armitage’s article, explains precisely why politicians don’t feel much urge to consult historians on anything important, and tend to get annoyed with them when they do. (more…)

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