Pop history is my gateway drug

I absolutely adore historical dramas, the more baroque, the better. I want fancy costumes and beautiful houses and people charging around on horses while they affect ridiculous accents. And I’m also well aware that they are rife with painful anachronisms and a great number of my historian friends routinely throw things at the screen when they watch […]

‘Boat people’ and refugees

The 20th century — and into the 21st — was one of continual exodus and diaspora thanks to wars, border changes, and political shifts. Jewish people fled Europe in the Second World War, desperately seeking refuge from the Nazis. Survivors of the Vietnam war scattered after the fall of Saigon. Residents of the Balkans were […]

Developing Over Our History

There’s a situation in Berlin that I’ve been following with some fascination, because I have a strange sense of personal attachment to it, about which more in a moment. You see, a development firm wanted to build some flats, only something was in the way: a section of the Berlin Wall left up as a […]

Period Fantasies

We appear beset of late on television with an overload of nostalgia for bygone eras; perhaps I’m wrong and the numbers of nostalgic shows aren’t any higher than they used to be, but it feels like we have a lot more period dramas with ornate costuming and whiffs of longing for the past than we […]