Using, Abusing, and Perusing the Past

Historians’ neglect of the imagined past is particularly surprising when one considers that, oftentimes, the process of constructing an imagined past is an interesting story in its own right. This essay argues that part of the reason for the scarce attention paid to science’s imagined past is the fact that the very existence of an imagined past questions the foundations of history writing. The remedy to the flaws of history is, the essay suggests, simply more history. We do not need to sweep the imagined past under the rug but, rather, to understand its dynamics as a genuinely historical process.