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The Ideal of Justice and its Significance for Historians as Engaged Intellectuals
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Culture and Aesthetics.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9267-9353
2019 (English)In: The Engaged Historian: Perspectives on the Intersections of Politics, Activism and the Historical Profession / [ed] Stefan Berger, New York: Berghahn Books, 2019, p. 44-62Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

During the twentieth century the intellectual typically had the role of a prosecutor, criticizing wrongs and injustices, paradigmatically expressed by Emile Zola. The paper uses the analogy of a court of justice to articulate the responsibilities and pitfalls of the historian as intellectual and defends the importance of justice as a regulative idea for interpretations and judgments. The reasonable critique of intellectuals’ sometimes overestimated claims to truth, universality and ideological validity calls for a new ethics of intellectual engagement, that goes beyond specific ideological commitments, value neutrality, scientific method or mere empirical correspondence as criteria. The paper claims that justice of memory is an important dimension of such an ethics and points to a number of relevant aspects of the meaning of justice for historical interpretations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Berghahn Books, 2019. p. 44-62
Series
Making sense of history ; 37
Keywords [en]
ethics of intellectual engagement, historical judgment, historian’s role, ideological instrumentalisation of history, intellectuals, justice, responsibility
National Category
History of Ideas
Research subject
History Of Sciences and Ideas
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-178380ISBN: 978-1-78920-199-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-178380DiVA, id: diva2:1388622
Projects
‘The Use and Abuse of Historical Lessons: Instrumentalization, Contingency and the Ethics of Historical Lessons’ (financed by the Swedish Research Council)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, FS-2009-537Available from: 2020-01-27 Created: 2020-01-27 Last updated: 2020-01-29Bibliographically approved

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