2001 : WHAT QUESTIONS HAVE DISAPPEARED?

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Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Author,Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed
Has History Ended?

I am going to take slight liberty with your question. With the publication a decade ago of Francis Fukuyama's justly acclaimed article The End Of History, many pundits and non-pundits assumed that historical forces and trends had been spent. The era of the "isms" was at an end; liberal democracy, market forces, and globalization had triumphed; the heavy weight of the past was attenuating around the globe.

At the start of 2001, we are no longer asking "Has History Ended?" History seems all too alive. The events of Seattle challenged the globalization behemoth; the world is no longer beating a path to internet startups; Communist and fascist revivals have emerged in several countries; the historical legacies in areas like the Balkans and the Middle East are as vivid as ever; and, as I noted in response to last year's question, much of Africa is at war. As if to remind us of our naivete, Fidel Castro and Saddam Hussein have been in "office" as long as most Americans can remember. If George II is ignorant of this history, he is likely to see it repeated.

HOWARD GARDNER, the major proponent of the theory of multiple intelligences, is Professor of Education at Harvard University and author of numerous books including The Mind's New Science and Extraordinary Minds: Portraits of Four Exceptional Individuals.