Honest and dishonest: a clarification

Honest History is a coalition of historians and others supporting the balanced and honest presentation and use of Australian history. Our main focus now is on the centenary of World War I because Australian history about that period has been highly politicised, for many different reasons.

We believe all history should be contestable. Facts may be disputed or uncertain and they can be selected and interpreted in many ways. No interpretation should be privileged above others. Honest History seeks balanced history, where contesting, evidence-based interpretations are available to students, teachers, universities, journalists and the public, and history is not distorted to serve political or other agendas.

All history is interpretation. Honest history is interpretation robustly supported by evidence.

Some observers have wrongly inferred that Honest History aims to classify some historians as honest and others as dishonest. This is not the case. Honest History respects differences of interpretation but will call out any history that is tendentious, unjustified, exaggerated, distorted, partial or unbalanced.

Honest History does not classify historians as honest or dishonest. Rather we ask for rigorous research and honest debate. Australia needs its historians to do this work to help us understand what has made us what we are.

Honest History Committee

12 March 2014 updated

 

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