Drawing on the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, this contribution will examine commemorative practices alongside critical modes of historical engagement. In Untimely Meditations, Friedrich Nietzsche documents three historical methodologies—the monumental, antiquarian and critical—which purposely use history in non-objective ways. In particular, critical history desires to judge and reject historical figures rather than repeat the past or venerate the dead. For instance, in recent protests against racism there have also been calls to decolonize public space through the defacement, destruction, and removal of monuments. There is thus much potential in critical history being used to address ongoing harms.
Comment (from this Blueprint): This paper brings out nicely doubts on the objectivity of history as it is presented to us. The pretence of objective history can be used as an oppressive tool to delegitimise the critical reflection of the history of the marginalised. A particular point of interest is objecting to the standards of "greatness," which could be found very plausible. It seems that we have indeed been honouring people who have done great (from a certain point of view) but terrible things.