Europe in Front of its Colonial Past. The Question of Historiography

Anna Milioni


This paper employs Paul Ricœur’s insights to examine how European states should approach their colonial past. First, I explore the significance of historical knowledge for people from formerly colonized countries through the views of several anti-colonial thinkers. Then, referring to Ricoeur’s analyses in History and Truth, Time and Narrative and Memory, History, Forgetting, I examine the grounds and the legitimacy, of a historiography of colonization. I argue that European states should make the history of colonization part of their school curricula, as an expression of Europeans’ debt to the victims of the colonial past, and as a way to prevent the repetition of the colonial crimes.


Ricœur; Historiography; Colonization; Injustice.

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