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Reconciling Ancient and Modern Philosophies of History and Historiography - 18-19/08/2016, London (E

Classical scholarship and methods were prominent in the early development of modern philosophy of history and historiography. Giambattista Vico, whose scholarly output is littered with classical analysis, is now generally considered as one of the progenitors of modern anthropology and philology. Leopold Ranke, widely regarded as the father of modern scientific historiography, presented himself as profoundly influenced by Thucydides. The historical philosophies of Wolf, Hegel, Weber, Croce, Nietzsche, and Collingwood were similarly influenced, at least partially, by the classical corpus of historical texts and by trends in classical studies including textual criticism and later archaeology. The philosopies of history and historiography consequently conceptualised and sometimes formalised the traditional epistemological problems of evidence, interpretation and explanation, causation, realism, and narrative. This conference aims to reconcile ancient ideas concerning the interpretation and explanation of the past and the methods and theories of classical studies with the modern philosophies of history and historiography.

The theme of the conference is based on two fundamental questions:

  1. How can modern approaches, methodologies, hypotheses, and theories in the philosophies of history and historiography inform our analyses of ancient historiography?

  2. Are ancient historical writers still relevant in the modern discourse of the philosophies of history and historiography? Can they contribute to ongoing debates regarding the interpretation and explanation of past events and the production and presentation of historical knowledge?

FECHA/DATE/DATA: 18-19/08/2016

LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Senate House (London, England)



INSCRIPCIÓN/REGISTRATION/REGISTRAZIONE: web- £45 Deadline for registration: 01/08/2016

Thanks to the generous support of the Classical Association there are a number of bursaries available for postgraduate students wishing to attend the conference. These come in the form of conference fee waivers. In order to be considered for one of these bursaries please send a brief statement to the organiser about how the conference topic relates to your research by the 1st of August.


Day One

10:00-10:30 – Welcome/Registration/Tea & Coffee

10:30-10:40 – Introduction (Aaron Turner)

10:40-12:10 – Panel 1

10:40-11:25 – Alexander Meeus (University of Mannheim) ‘Epistemic Virtues and the Philosophy of Science: A Performative Approach to the Methodology of Ancient Historians’

11:25-12:10 – Peter van Nuffelen (Ghent University) ‘Language, Reality, Signs: A Late Antique Christian ‘Regime de Representation’’

12:10-13:10 – Keynote 1

Katherine Clarke (University of Oxford) ‘Minding the Gap: Mimetic Imperfection and the Historiographical Enterprise’

13:10-14:00 – Lunch

14:00-16:15 – Panel 2

14:00-14:45 – Salvatore Tufano (Sapienza University of Rome) ‘Walter Benjamin as a Reader of Greek Historiography: The Closed Circle?’

14:45-15:30 – Lisa Hau (University of Glasgow) ‘Pathos with a Point: Reflections on ‘Sensationalist’ Narratives of Violence in Hellenistic Historiography in the Light of 21st Century Historiography and Journalism’

15:30-16:15 – Olivier Gengler (Heidelberg Academy of Science/ University of Tubingen) ‘Agathias’ Histories and Historiography: Ancient and Modern’

16:15-16:35 – Tea/Coffee

16:35-17:35 – Keynote 2

Aviezer Tucker (Harvard University) ‘The Arché of Historiography’

Day Two

09:30-10:00 – Tea/Coffee

10:00-11:30 – Panel 3

10:00-10:45 – Jacqueline Klooster & Inger Kuin (University of Groningen) ‘Writing a Crisis: The Meta-History of Narrating Political Events’

10:45-11:30 – Aaron Turner (Royal Holloway, University of London) ‘Retrospective Determinism and Periclean Pronoia: Thucydides, Arthur Danto, and the Ideal Chronicler’

11:30-12:30 – Keynote 3

Jonas Grethlein (University of Heidelberg) ‘The Universal in the Particular: A Core Dilemma of Historicism in Antiquity’

12:30-13:30 – Lunch

13:30-15:00 – Panel 4

13:30-14:15 – Lydia Spielberg (Radboud University) ‘Documentary Fantasies in Livy’s Trial of the Scipios’

14:15-15:00 – Hamutal Minkowich (UCL) ‘Mythistoria in 2016?’

15:00-15:20 – Tea/Coffee

15:20-16:20 – Keynote 4

Neville Morley (University of Bristol) ‘Thucydides and the Historiography of the Future’

16:20-16:40– Closing remarks

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