Historical policy-making in Poland and the political role of historians
Lecture by Valentin Behr (Warsaw University, The Robert Zajonc Institute for Social Studies and Centre for French Studies)
Where: CEFRES Library, Na Florenci 3, Prague 1
When: 28 March 2019, 2 pm
This lecture will be dedicated to historical policy in Poland. I will first explain why I use the notion of “historical policy” and how it differs from the more common notion of “memory politics”. I will also illustrate my thesis by recalling the history and activities of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), which is somehow similar to other institutions in postcommunist countries such as the German Gauck Institute or the Czech Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes (USTR). Then, I will show how historical policy shapes some kind of official narrative about the past, by evoking some of the IPN’s publications. Finally, I will propose a more general reflection about the role and contribution of historians to the political uses of the past, by sketching a broader historical perspective, from the end of WWII onwards.