Strand: Debating the Past

‘Who controls the past controls the future’, wrote George Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Certainly, debates about the past, how it is remembered, celebrated and taught, are often fiercely contested. This summer’s events in Charlottesville in the US showed that arguments about the past often reveal deep political differences in the present. Is the whole business of commemorating the past, whether it’s the First World War, the Russian Revolution or even more recent events, inevitably fraught? And how have things changed todays’ young - assessing the legacy of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road allows us to look at the changing attitudes to travel and adventure, while a special film screening will be followed by a discussion about whether Thatcherism still has a grip on youthful politicos today or is consigned to that very different era of ‘the past’.