ISABEL INCLAN / TORONTO
Mexican historian Enrique Florescano gave talks on October 4th at the University of Toronto and October 5th at Glendon College (York University), as part of the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs’ Canada-Mexico Exchange Program, through the Consulate General of Mexico to Toronto.
Professor Florescano is one of the most influential Mexican historians, and one of the most important researchers of the Mexican Pre-Columbian world, historiography, economic and social history, memory, myths and identities.
He is the founder and director of the journal Nexos, and the director of the National Institute for Anthropology and History. He has received such distinctions as L’ordre national du merit and the Palmes académiques from the Government of France, as well as the Premio Nacional de Ciencias y Artes from the Government of Mexico.
Florescano´s visit is co-organized by the Department of Hispanic Studies and the Office of the Principal of Glendon College at York University.
At the Centre for Ethics Seminar at the University of Toronto, Florescano inaugurated the second season of the Living Docu-ment series.
At Glendon College, Professor Florescano gave a talk on “The Social Function of History.”
“The present has overshadowed the past, that is to say that the past is demoted with respect to the present,” said Florescano, who added that this demotion “affects future citizens’ vision of historical development, since they will not know how to look back-wards.”
When speaking to academics at the Centro de Estudios Latinoamericanos at the University of Toronto, Florescano, also the author of “Memoria Mexicana,” said that the importance of history is that “it teaches us to see other ways of thinking, to broaden our understanding of the real diversity that exists.”
Florescano, a recipient of the Premio Nacional de Ciencias y Artes, stressed the fact that “the Mexican people have many positive virtues,” and it is the Mexicans, farm workers, and producers´ work that “sustains Mexico.”
Professor Florescano said that the primary function of history has been “to make human beings aware of who we are, where we have come from, who our ancestors were.”