Thursday, March 5, 2009

Earl and Neal in dialogue -- "Cruelty in History: A Conversation," Friday, Mar 13, 2:30 pm, Rm A224--

From James Murton:

I am very pleased to announce a special session of the History Department Seminar Series, "Cruelty in History: A Conversation," with Derek Neal and Hilary Earl.

Derek and Hilary will consider the problems of understanding, studying, and teaching about cruelty, focusing on a range of settings, from premodern times to the present, with particular focus on Dr. Earl's research into twentieth-century war and genocide (abstract below).

Friday, Mar 13, 2:30 pm, Rm A224.

Refreshments will be served.


How pertinent is "cruelty" as a term of historical analysis? Is the historian who refers to a given custom, episode or individual "cruel" making a useful judgment, or one that obscures historical knowledge? In dwelling on "cruelty" in history do we sometimes run the risk of buying into the investments of particular audiences or interests? And how do we teach about cruelty in history without becoming sensationalistic or exploitative?