Gove and Schama put to the sword by Richard J Evans

Amongst the more colourful rebuke’s to Gove and Schama’s plans for secondary history, comes the most recent from Richard Evans. He points out that there have been very few academics who have exposed the shallowness of Gove’s thinking. In his recent artilce for the London Review he concluded

More than a century ago Lord Acton advised his students at Cambridge to ‘study problems, not periods’. Some years ago, Eric Hobsbawm, referring to two history textbooks that presented old-fashioned narratives without interpretation, noted that they made ‘the systematic consideration’ of historical problems ‘virtually impossible’. Gove, Schama and their allies are confusing history with memory. History is a critical academic discipline whose aims include precisely the interrogation of memory and the myths it generates. It really does matter to historians that there isn’t any evidence that Alfred burned the cakes, or that Nelson and Wellington weren’t national heroes to everyone. For those in power, this makes history as a discipline not only useless but dangerous too.

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