Archive for July 15th, 2010

Historians as expert witnesses

15 July 2010

Contributed by Patrick Walsh

Academics are often accused of living in ivory towers. We are supposed to have little to offer the ‘real world’, wherever that mythical place is. Instead we are encouraged to stay in our own imaginative kingdom, where we can coexist with others similarly entranced with the arcane, abstruse and antique. Occasionally, however, we as historians are tempted to engage with real life. For some this involves writing for that rarely catered for, and often patronised, ‘general reader’; for others it means writing and presenting often excellent documentaries on sound and screen; and for some it means engaging in campaigns to preserve our history and heritage. It is this last form of engagement I want to focus on today.

Recently we have seen the mobilisation of some many of our historians in the important Archives in Crisis campaign, while others have led their voices to the Save Tara campaign amongst a whole host of other worthy causes. Read more