Studying the past in 2017: The Present in Research
Medieval and Renaissance reading group. This second session centres around ‘Presentism’. Looking at the past through the prism of the present used to be a sin, a dangerous anachronism. However, scholars increasingly realise that the questions of the present shape our understanding of the past. How and to what extent can present preoccupations and analytical frameworks illuminate the past? How can we subvert biases inherent in the archive and not replicate past violence and abuses?
Dr Liesbeth Corens, new Career Development Fellow in Renaissance History and coordinator of the Medieval and Renaissance Cluster is organising the reading group ‘Studying the past in 2017
’ which centres around the public role of those studying the past. The aim is to introduce some of the current debates like: taking part in manifestos, presentism, white supremacism, denial of wars, discrimination, violence and other abuses and to invite reflection on what role historians, literary scholars or theologians can play in these debates. For further information on dates and reading list please see below link to an attached file or contact email@example.com
Sessions will take place on alternating Mondays at noon starting 9th October.
1 Being public (9 October): This first session opens the broad themes on which we will build the next ones, and asks the questions at the heart of this reading group: To what extent can and should we take part in public debates? What forms could this participation
2 The Present in Research (23 October): This session centres around ‘Presentism’. Looking at the past through the prism of the present used to be a sin, a dangerous anachronism. However, scholars increasingly realise that the questions of the present shape our understanding of the past. How and to what extent can present preoccupations and analytical frameworks illuminate the past? How can we subvert biases inherent in the archive and not replicate past violence and abuses?
3 The Present in Teaching (6 November): At a time when students more readily make connections between past and present, we should ask whether and how we can discuss these in the classroom. How can we encourage students to use their historical thinking more broadly? And how, in acknowledging diversity, do we not fall in the trap of forcing identities and roles upon our students and colleagues?
4 Uses and Abuses of History (20 November): The Middle Ages in particular have been the topic of interest of White Supremacists. This session introduces some of the main targets of White Supremacists, and opens wider conversations on how scholars can deal with such misappropriation.
5 Awkward Pasts (4 December): A past filled with wars, discrimination, violence, and other abuses and a present which builds much of its identity on history leads not only to misrepresentations but to awkward silences and difficult positioning. This session highlights that awkwardness by focusing on its most explicit form: denial. But silence’s less overt forms are similarly influential.
Everyone is welcome, but please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to have a sense of numbers.
Room: Stafford Crane Room
Address: Keble College
Post code: OX1 3PG
Event created on: Sunday 08 October, 2017