Thursday, March 12, 2009

Reminder: Earl and Neal talk about cruelty in history, Friday, March 13, 2:30 pm, Room A224

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?

Derek Neal and Hilary Earl will explore these questions in a conversation that investigates cruelty (as defined both by historical actors and by present-day historians) in a range of historical settings from premodern times to the present, with particular focus on Dr. Earl's research into twentieth-century war and genocide.

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