Ernest Renan’s famous essay ‘What is a Nation?’ places ‘history’ at the centre of the nationalist project, but it is a history which requires careful interpretation. ‘Getting history wrong’ is the precondition of nationalist history because it requires not only collective remembering but collective forgetting. This ‘forgetting’, said Renan, ‘I would go so far as to say historical error, is a crucial factor in the creation of a nation, which is why progress in historical studies often constitutes a danger for [the principle of] nationality’ (1990:11).