Philosophies of History is pleased to announced its upcoming joint event with the University of Oulu, Finland. The full program can be found here

We are also working with Finnish scholars in Helsinki and Tampere. More information on activities in Finland will emerge in the coming months.


Assessing Narrativism
Young Researchers’ Meeting in the Philosophy of History and Historiography
University of Oulu
4 June 2015

Organised by The Oulu Centre for Theoretical and Philosophical Studies of History (http://www.oulu.fi/centreforphilosophyofhistory/) in co-operation with Philosophies of History (http://philosophiesofhistory.blogspot.co.uk/)

Speakers and Papers:
Anton Froeyman (University of Ghent), 'Never the Twain Shall Meet? How Narrativism and Experience can be Reconciled by Dialogical Ethics'.

Helena Hammond (University of Roehampton), 'Narrativism, Antivisualism and their Discontents, or the Unexpected Resurgence of History'.

Jorma Kalela (University of Turku) (key note), 'How to Assess History'.

Michael J. Kelly (University of Leeds), 'Voiding History: Speculative Objectivity and the Anti-Historical Figure of Postnarrativity'.

Ilkka Lähteenmäki (University of Oulu), 'Constructing Historical Worlds'.

Paul Roth (University of California Santa Cruz) (key note), 'Reviving the Philosophy of History'.

Zoltán Boldizsár Simon (University of Bielefeld), 'On the Difference Between Experience and Experientiality'.

Eugen Zeleňák (Catholic University in Ruzomberok), 'Narrativism and the Roles of the Past'.

Preceded by book launches (3 June): Kari Väyrynen and Jarmo Pulkkinen (eds.): Historian filosofia (Vastapaino); Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen: Postnarrativist Philosophy of Historiography (Palgrave).

Philosophy of history and historiography has strongly returned onto the agenda of academic research. In recent years, several new centres and initiatives focusing on philosophical and theoretical aspects of history have been established. A few years ago a new journal, Journal of the Philosophy of History, was founded to complement the existing palette.

There have been two great traditions in the philosophy of history and historiography in the post-World War II period. Carl Hempel’s article The Function of General Laws (published during the war, in 1942) inaugurated scholarly discourse that later came to be known as the analytic philosophy of history. The analytic philosophy of history dominated until the emergence of narrativism in the 1970s in the form of Hayden White’s Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe (1973). Frank Ankersmit’s Narrative Logic: A Semantic Analysis of the Historian’s Language (1983) amounts to another landmark publication in narrativism.

It is probably fair to say that narrativism, as a scholarly project, has not advanced theoretically in recent years with as surprising insights as in the early years of the 1970s and 1980s. It and many of its tenets have been subjected to criticism in various journals. On the other hand, some leading narrativists of the early years, such as Ankersmit, have redefined their scholarly interests and substituted some central concepts by others, indicating a shift from the concerns of the early narrativist school to other issues. For example, the focus is now on ‘representation’ rather than on ‘narrative substances’ and on experience than on linguistic aspects.  It may be that the narrativist philosophy of historiography has reached its peak, and that the philosophy of history and historiography is gradually moving towards a postnarrativist stage and to a period of renewed theoretical innovation.

Young Researchers’ Meeting in the Philosophy of History and Historiography is a meeting for all scholars, and especially those in the early stages of their career, interested in the state of the philosophy of history and historiography. The aim is to assess the current situation, specifically the standing of narrativism, and consider where to go next.

Questions that will be considered include:
·      What is narrativism?
·      Is narrativism a specific scholarly orientation or rather many distinct schools?
·      What has narrativism contributed to the philosophy of history and historiography?
·      Is there something like a narrative explanation?
·      What are the philosophical problems with which narrativism is faced?
·      Are there reasons to move beyond narrativism to a form of post-narrativism?
·      What comes after narrativism in the philosophy of history and historiography?

Program to be finalized soon.
Participation is free for everyone. Please register by 29 May: ilkka.o.lahteenmaki@oulu.fi

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