In 2002 the History and Policy network was set up in the UK in order to connect British historians with policymakers and “increase the influence of historical research over current policy.” At the same time a reverse process can be observed in France, where since 2005 historians have been campaigning against certain uses of history by politicians. This article compares the two trends, arguing that the French example demonstrates the need to pay as much attention to raising awareness of history as a practice as to transmitting content, if historians are to contribute usefully to public policy debates.

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