Incredible: lying, credibility, and the truth in historical research


RAI Annual Postgraduate Conference

Recent interest in fake news has spurred a host of scholarly discussions on the history of propaganda, the media, and falsehoods. Yet historians have seldom asked themselves how to cope with lying in the historical record. Not all voices are trusted equally: census reports have always generated more trust than a child’s diary while feminist historians of rape have tended to invert the he-said/she-said dynamic and trusted victims over perpetrators. Age, gender, race, and class have all affected which voices appear credible or incredible. How do historians know when our sources are lying, and how do we use sources when we know that they lie? What is lying, are there different types of lying, and do historians have to adapt their methods to each case. How are lies told, who are they told to, and why are they told?

This conference will draw together a range of historians to ask how the problem of lying affects or should affect historical research.

Programme and registration

A provisional programme can be downloaded here.

Registration is through Eventbrite.

Registration closes on Wednesday 12 September.