More than 40 academics have joined together in an effort to stop the “abuse of history for political purposes.
The College Fix reported that the academics, mostly from the United Kingdom, have created a website called “History Reclaimed,” which says that “History has become one of the major battlegrounds in the culture wars that are causing anger and alarm across the democratic world,” particularly in North America, Britain, and Australasia.
The website features articles and columns from academics discussing the harm of Critical Race Theory and other ideologies that have become prominent in public schools and universities.
The group is led by Cambridge University Emeritus Professor of French History Robert Tombs, who released a statement when the website launched.
“The abuse of history for political purposes is as old as history itself,” Tombs said. “In recent years, we have seen campaigns to rewrite the history of western democracies in a way that undermines their solidarity as communities, their sense of achievement, even their very legitimacy.”
The Fix reported that some of the other academics who have joined the website include: “Cambridge historian David Abulafia, Oxford ethicist Nigel Biggar, Stanford academic and author Niall Ferguson, Irish writer Ruth Dudley Edwards, educational researcher Alka Cuthbert, and historians Lawrence James, Zareer Masani and Andrew Roberts.”
Current articles on the website include one from former University of Kent professor Joanna Williams criticizing Critical Race Theory.
“We have a new elite that uses not racism but anti-racism to invent differences between people which it exploits for its own ends,” Williams wrote. “These radicals do not want to end racism but for it to continue indefinitely. They must not be allowed to get away with this.”
Another article was written by Andrew Roberts, a British historian who three years ago published a biography of Winston Churchill. Roberts’ article focused on the many “factually incorrect, deeply offensive and ignorant remarks” made during a February event at Churchill College, which downplayed the former British prime minister’s accomplishments as racist.
“This is now sadly quite common. But I never would have expected Churchill College to participate in it,” Roberts wrote.
Elizabeth Weiss, a tenured professor of anthropology at San Jose State University, is one of the few Americans who joined History Reclaimed, telling the Fix that she hopes the website becomes “a resource for those who are looking to understand the past rather than to use history for propaganda or as a weapon.”
“There is a movement to erase art that depicts history in what may be perceived as a politically correct manner,” Weiss told the outlet. “For instance, the murals at George Washington High School in San Francisco created by Russian immigrant Victor Arnautoff in the 1930s depicted George Washington as a slave owner and showed the killing of Native Americans yet, in our current environment this is seen as harmful and several organizations, such as the American Indian Parent Advisory Council, said that students should not be forced to see that history.”
Weiss had previously received public scorn from her department because she challenged the notion that scholars should try to cite others based on race.
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Author: Ashe Schow