David Starkey and the role of the historian. Part Two.

In August I posted some reactions to Starkey’s comments about the riots on Newsnight. I asked then  why when major events happen do we turn to historians to explain them. This article from the Daily Telegraph really asks the same question. The difference is that it is asked by historians themselves, who believed that Starkey  lacked “understanding of the history of ordinary life in modern Britain” to do the job properly. The full letter can be found here – read it for yourself.

Whatever you think about all this, two things appear to be true.

1. Historians like knocking lumps out of each other.

2. David Starkey comments about race and riots are not going to be forgotten in a hurry.


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2 Responses to David Starkey and the role of the historian. Part Two.

  1. Ed Podesta says:

    IMHO this is part of the British hatred of expertise, but a strange part.

    Rather than get a sociologist – one who might be able to explain events through studying the way society works, NEWSNIGHT, the BBC flagship current affairs programme chose a telly-don to give his uninformed ‘reckon’.

    In the same way that self-made TV chef makes shows about fixing British education (see Jamie’s School), we’re afraid to speak to the people who know what they’re talking about.

    I suspect that this is because we’d rather hear something that we already agree with, rather than have our ideas challenged.

  2. Pingback: Does David Starkey put people off academic history ? | heathenhistory.co.uk

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