Recurrent figure of the partisan rhetoric, dreamed as decisive argument in political jousting, the poor Clio needs to roll with the punches. Pulled in many directions and often offended by those who are less familiar with her. Distorted, abused and sometimes twisted in order to put her into one pigeonhole whereas she is not supposed to be locked up. Taking many responsibilities whereas she proposes and never disposes. Clio, such a martyr!
Johannes Vermeer, The Art of Painting, c. 1666, oil on canvas
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
© All rights reserved
As for many things and as for History, if we took time to think and to be curious, we would say less banalities. “At all time in the History, Humans…”, “This is a tradition”, “It has always been that way” are so simplistic that these expressions should have woken any honest critical mind up. History is a priceless key to understand and face our time, but this is in no way a prescriptive instrument. On the opposite side of that, History teaches that everything is man-made and the result of the social construction! This is not a convenient excuse to ambitions or points of view. Far away from prescribing the rank in which people are supposed to be lined up, History is an invitation to awareness, curiosity, understanding, diversity, criticism and even changes. In fine, this is a formidable way to allow individual and collective emancipation to express itself.
If Clio belongs to no one, her protection is a collective duty. Actually, the best defense we can offer to such poor Clio is, without doubt, to know and respect her. So why do we not start by keeping in mind that things are slightly more complicated than what they may appear at first glance?
TO GO FURTHER:
BLOCH Marc, Apologie pour l’histoire ou Métier d’historien, Paris, Armand Colin, 2007, 159 P.
GRUZINSKI Serge, L’histoire, pour quoi faire ?, Paris, Fayard, 2015, 300 p.
PROST Antoine, Douze leçons sur l’histoire, Paris, Seuil, coll. « Points », 1996, 341 p.
BLANC William, CHERY Aurore, NAUDIN Christophe, Les historiens de garde, Paris, Inculte, 2013, 254 p.
Comité de vigilance face aux usages publics de l’histoire (CVUH) : http://cvuh.blogspot.fr/