The current protests against statues of former colonial rulers in the Black-lives-matter movement illustrates the constantly changing significance of the past. Although people and events often fall into oblivion, memories can come unexpectedly. The past is inescapable. But there is always a different understanding in the present, based on surviving traditions and traces. No one can tear themselves off or stand above it, but they can be adjusted. However, resistance to these reinterpretations is strong.
In her book Onontkoombaar verleden Maria Grever discusses this fascinating philosophical of history theme, referring to the appeal of monuments, traditions and rituals, but also emphasizing the importance of distance and ethical reflection for historical understanding. For a sneak peek, have a look at the online version of the book.
The first copy of the book is offered to em. prof. Siep Stuurman.
Maria Grever is em. professor Historical Culture, Erasmus University Rotterdam. On the 26th of June, the book will be launched through a webinar.