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Writing histories of 2020: First responses and early perspectives

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Richard Vinen, Claire Langhamer, Kevin Siena

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)786-806
Number of pages21
Issue number262
Published1 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © The Author(s) 2020. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


The 2020 Historical Research lecture,‘Writing histories of 2020’, asked how future historians might study and understand the global coronavirus pandemic. The lecture brought together historians with three distinctive perspectives: contemporary history and writing of the very recent past, histories of record keeping and current archive creation, and the history of contagious disease and its human consequences.The three speakers, Richard Vinen, Claire Langhamer and Kevin Siena, provided early responses on future histories of 2020 and how we might best prepare the ground for these studies.This article provides written versions of these commentaries. Common to each of the contributions, and subsequent discussion, is the ongoing challenge and responsibility of thinking historically at a time when history is clearly ‘in the making’.

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