In 2015, at the annual conference that launched the History for Peace project, Dr Barbara Christophe delivered a powerful keynote address that has since served as a prism, refracting ideas that strengthen our objectives. Speaking about memory, history and history textbooks and the ambivalence inherent in these, she elaborated on the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to the use of history teaching as a resource for reconciliation and thus for ‘teaching history for peace’.
Traditionally, history has been defined as the study of the past as it is recorded in documents. However, in recent years, Memory Studies has become an integral part of the historiographical landscape. Urvashi Butalia, speaking at the same conference, discussed how marginalized histories emerge when we record oral narratives. Thus, textual, visual and oral representations of the past have gradually gained equal importance among historians as source and evidence.
This year, as we complete 70 years of Independence, the History for Peace annual conference, held in Calcutta from 14 to 17 August 2017, looked at India’s engagement or its lack thereof with institutionalized, collective and individual histories that make up the ‘Idea of India’. The many scholars, arts practitioners and intellectuals sharing their views on the subject included Prof Romila Thapar, Prof Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Prof Krishna Kumar, Prof Vijay Prashad, Sudhanva Deshpande and Ravish Kumar, to name just a few. We are pleased to carry the conversations further in Bangalore with a conference organized in association with Vidyashilp Academy.
Browse through the programme here: