Faced with the challenge of new ideological emphases and subjects of study, academic history has undergone significant changes in its contents in the past half-century. Simultaneously, pressures to change have been directed at its form, particularly in the shape of calls for more socially engaged and up-to-date modes of presentation. The demand for ‘history’ in this more existential sense is equally evidenced by the rise of practical and popular uses of the past outside academic history writing. Reflecting on these shifts in the broader history culture, this collection explores the entanglements and opportunities of history and historians today, moving between questions of social and institutional self-justification, desires relating to identity and self-understanding as well as the consumption and entertainment needs of audiences. The authors find inspiration in varied traditions and media ranging from ancient philosophy and classic history writing to reality TV and Twitter. In doing so, they also present exciting futures for where history may yet go. This book was originally published as a special issue of Rethinking History.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Futures for the past (‘This is a stub’) Kalle Pihlainen
1. Narrativity and dialectics revisited Hans Kellner
2. Cognitive inadequacy: history and the technocratic management of an artificial world Martin L. Davies
3. Tales of pastness and contemporaneity: on the politics of time in history and anthropology Berber Bevernage
4. Michael Oakeshott and Hayden White on the practical and the historical past Jonas Ahlskog
5. Hayden White and Joan W. Scott’s feminist history: the practical past, the political present and an open future María Inés La Greca
6. The distinction of history: on valuing the insularity of the historical past Kalle Pihlainen
7. The Finnish Twitter war: the Winter War experienced through the #sota39 project and its implications for historiography Ilkka Lähteenmäki and Tatu Virta
8. A history didactic experiment: the TV series Anno in a dramatist perspective Ketil Knutsen
Kalle Pihlainen is Senior Research Fellow at the School of Humanities at Tallinn University, Estonia, and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy and Cultural Theory at Åbo Akademi University, Finland. His research focuses on the theory and philosophy of history as well as on literary and historical culture.