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Hosted event: Historians and Brexit - launching the Contemporary European History roundtable

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History has been part of the Brexit madness from the start. It’s hardly news that thinking about things that happened in the past is often directly shaped by perceived priorities in the present, but something rather more one-sided has been going on with history under Brexit. The problem isn’t so much that apparently everyone feels entitled to serendipitously dip into the past for findings to support whatever they believe in; it is rather that much of this history is so very un- and anti-historical. History has become a caricature of parochial dreams, nostalgias and made-up analogies to prop up binary political choices.

In this roundtable discussion, the historians Martin Conway, David Edgerton, Eirini Karamouzi, Pieter Lagrou, Sandrine Kott, Kiran Patel and Jessica Reinisch debate the role and relevance of history and historians in making sense of Brexit and the future of the European Union. It accompanies the journal Contemporary European History’s publication of a special issue on the subject.

The upshot of this roundtable cannot be easily reduced to a political headline, and that is precisely the point. Serious history rarely works that way. As the contributors show, the prospect of Brexit has revealed deep historically-rooted misperceptions between the UK and its European neighbours; Brexit in this sense is a process of stripping away dusty historical delusions about national paths and those of neighbouring countries.

Register by sending an email to:
Limited seats available.
Deadline for registration: Tuesday, June 11th.

Organised by: Contemporary European History (Cambridge University Press), the Université Libre de Bruxelles and its research unit Mondes modernes et contemporains (MMC).