Ramsay Centre supports ‘History Reclaimed’ campaign

Aug 31, 2021 | Announcements, News & Media

Sydney, Tuesday 31 August 2021: Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation CEO Professor Simon Haines has thrown his support behind the international ‘History Reclaimed’ campaign which was launched this week by a group of more than 40 senior UK and Anglosphere academics.

“At the Ramsay Centre we believe young people have a right to be taught in a systematic, clear-eyed and even-handed way about their major cultural inheritance,” Professor Haines said.

For more information, read the History Reclaimed media release below, or visit the website: https://historyreclaimed.co.uk/

Media contact: Sarah Switzer 0407 816 098/ sarah.switzer@ramsaycentre.org


AUGUST 29, 2021


Top academics launch culture wars fightback against ‘woke’ rewriting of Western history

A culture wars counter-offensive against “fake history” has been launched by a group of more than 40 senior UK and Anglosphere academics.

The “History Reclaimed” campaign is led by author Robert Tombs, Emeritus Professor of French History at Cambridge University.

In a statement marking the launch of the campaign and its website https://historyreclaimed.co.uk/, Professor Tombs warned that history has become one of the major battlegrounds in the culture wars creating havoc in institutions and corporations across the UK, North America and Australasia.

Other leading lights are Cambridge historian David Abulafia, co-editor of the new website, Oxford ethicist Nigel Biggar, Stanford academic and author Niall Ferguson, Irish writer Ruth Dudley Edwards, literary scholar Marie Kawthar Daouda, educationalist Alka Sehgal Cuthbert, and historians Lawrence James, Zareer Masani and Andrew Roberts.

More than 40 senior academics from seven countries are backing the project in a measure of the scale of concern in intellectual circles at the stultifying impact of cancel culture and political correctness.

Professor Tombs said: “The abuse of history for political purposes is as old as history itself.  In recent years, we have seen campaigns to rewrite the history of western democracies in a way that undermines their solidarity as communities, their sense of achievement, even their very legitimacy. 

“There have been calls to abolish national days in Canada and Australia, and both countries have been accused of being founded on genocide and colonial oppression. 

“In Britain, figures central to its history have been stigmatised as racists or for having connections—however distant—with slavery. 

“Slavery—despite its almost universal nature until the early 19th century—has been cast as the original sin for Britain and the United States, on which their societies and prosperity are supposedly based.  Calls for massive reparations are being heard.”

Many organisations have surrendered to the ‘woke’ condemnation of the past of countries like Britain, Professor Tombs declares.

“Whether to ward off criticism or to gain moral advantage, institutions have rushed to embrace the most negative interpretations of their own countries’ histories,” he says.

The impact on the social and political fabric of the country of this level of self-denigration is deeply damaging.

“Activists sometimes assert that ‘facing up’ to a past they present as overwhelmingly and permanently shameful is the path to a better and more ‘inclusive’ future. 

“But the real effect—perhaps the true aim—of their actions is nihilistic destruction. 

“Tendentious and even blatantly false readings of history are creating or aggravating divisions, resentments, and even violence.  This is damaging to democracy and to a free society.” 

Professor Tombs added: “Free societies depend on popular participation, trust and solidarity.  They need a sense of common purpose and self-worth.  A shared history is a necessary foundation. 

“We do not take the view that our histories are uniformly praiseworthy—that would be absurd.  But we reject as equally absurd the corrosive claim that they are essentially shameful. 

“We agree that history consists of many opinions and many voices.  But this does not mean that all opinions are valid, and certainly none should be imposed as a new orthodoxy. 

“We are an independent group of scholars from seven countries and several ethnicities with a wide range of opinions on many subjects, but with the shared conviction that history requires careful interpretation of complex evidence, and must not be a vehicle for facile propaganda. 

“We intend to provide context, explanation and balance in a debate in which condemnation is too often preferred to understanding. 

“We aim to inform and support individuals and institutions who feel uncertain in the face of the culture wars, and make it clear that distorted and divisive history will not go unchallenged.  

“We have set up a website, History Reclaimed  https://historyreclaimed.co.uk/  which has brought together a wealth of writing on contested issues in history, and we will continue to produce a stream of new writing which will both set the agenda for historical debate, and call out fake history.”


For media inquiries contact:


Prof Robert Tombs     rpt1000@cam.ac.uk

Prof David Abulafia            <dsa1000@cam.ac.uk>

Editorial committee:

Prof Nigel Biggar                nigel.biggar@chch.ox.ac.uk,

Dr Marie Kawthar Daouda            marie.daouda@oriel.ox.ac.uk

Prof Saul David                       saul.david@gmail.com

Prof Niall Ferguson [USA]             nialfl@stanford.edu

Prof Simon Haines [Australia]            simon.haines@ramsaycentre.org

Prof Liam Kennedy [Ireland]             L.Kennedy@qub.ac.uk

Dr Zareer Masani                   zareermasani@gmail.com

Dr Cornelia van der Poll         cornelia.vanderpoll@classics.ox.ac.uk

Prof Gwythian Prins             gwythian@cantab.net

Dr Alka Sehgal Cuthbert         alkasehgalcuthbert@googlemail.com

Prof Doug Stokes                   D.Stokes@exeter.ac.uk,

Prof Elizabeth Weiss [USA]            elizabeth.weiss@sjsu.edu

For full details of membership, see website.