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Memoria e Ricerca

What is historical critique about?

di Antonis Liakos
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 32 (2009), p. 159

The question that has motivated this paper is how historians conceive and enact their role in history-making today. May they continue to claim the guardianship of memory? Can they continue to guarantee historical truth? Are they the ones who decide the historical agenda? Does it make sense to distinguish and choose between a ‘practical’ or ‘critical’ role in shaping historical culture? Most of the debates around history today concern the role of historians. The article starts with a reflection on Kant’s “What is critique”, as it has been interpreted by Foucault and Butler, and proceeds to place the practice of critique within the framework of the concept of governability, as has been developed by Foucault and Bennett.