Maria Grever: let historians study games and theater
History is a source of inspiration for musicals, video games, movies, so historians should get involved with popular culture. That was the statement Prof. Maria Grever made during her keynote lecture at the Historian Days (Historicidagen), a three-day conference in Utrecht.
During her lecture, Grever also posed that 'fake history' is a realistic threat, especially in our current 'post-truth era' in which Trump and other populists are twisting historical facts. Commercialisation may stimulate this, however, the use of historical narratives in popular media can also have a positive effect on the audiences' knowledge of the past.
As popular media often refer to or tell stories of the past, audiences encounter history more often, without professional historians being involved. Therefore, historians should not shy away from popular media. It is an important task for them to bring nuance into mainstream debates and to broaden our understanding of historical events.
Historian Days: first edition
The Historian Days were organised by Utrecht University. The theme was 'History Now' ('Geschiedenis nu'). The conference will be organised bi-annually, with a different theme and host institution each time.