Aesthetics, Postmodernism and the ‘before now’
One-day symposium on 1st July 2014
St. Mary’s University
Senior Common Room
Organisers: Claire Norton and Mark Donnelly The Centre for the Philosophy of History (St Mary’s University), and Michael J. Kelly Philosophies of History (University of Leeds)
Generously funded by the School of Arts and Humanities at St Mary’s University
Is historiography akin to (theories of) objectivity or closer to subjectivist expression? What happens if we assume that while there well may have been an ‘extra-textual’ past reality, history is always an ‘intra-textual,’ imagined and fictive enterprise? While accepting a narrativist philosophy of history requires acknowledging the irreality of historying, it also legitimises a multiplicity of possible experimental forms that could be deployed to engage with the time before now: surreal, Dadaist, altereality, uncreative, documentary-fiction historying? Is it fair to argue that the more innovative and original a historian desires to be the more subjective her output will be, whereas in contrast, the less she is willing to say, the more objective her result will be? Has postmodernism, in its rejection of universality and foundational truths, provided history aesthetically and functionally with a more radical or emancipatory platform than its objectivity-centred Modernist predecessor? Or have postmodernist aesthetics simply reinforced the status quo and thus marginalized alternative ways of engaging with our pasts?
Papers given by philosophers, historians, and artists at the one-day symposium Aesthetics, Postmodernism and the ‘before now’ will consider such questions as these. Responding to narrativist theories of history, developments in contemporary literary theory, and experimental forms of narrating or performing pasts in the visual arts they will explore the aesthetic possibilities for history writing in theory and in practice.
The symposium will take place in the Senior Common Room at St Mary’s Strawberry Hill campus. The symposium is free and everyone is welcome. For more information about the event and to book a place, please contact Claire Norton on firstname.lastname@example.org or Mark Donnelly on email@example.com.
|9.15am – 9.40am||Register|
|9.40am – 9.50am||Welcome|
|9.50am – 11.10am||Panel 1: Chair – Mark Donnelly
Alun Munslow – Irreality and the Aesthetics of Historying
Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen – Historiography between subjectivity and objectivity
|11.10am – 11.25am||Refreshment break|
|11.25am – 12.45am||Panel 2: Chair – Claire Norton
Paul Antick – Smith @ Batang Kali: Letter B to Cohen.
Helena Hammond – Dancing in the museum: Alexander Sokurov’s Russian Ark (2002) and the politics and poetics of the aesthetics of the St Petersburg total art work as historical representation
|12.45pm – 1.30pm||Lunch|
|1.30pm – 2.50pm||Panel 3: Chair – Michael Kelly
Adi Efal – Habitude and archaeology
Javier López Alós – Rhetoric, Representation and Apocalypse: The Peninsular War as Religious War
|2.50pm – 3.10pm||Refreshment break|
|3.10pm – 4.30pm||Panel 4: Chair – Helena Hammond
Kalle Pihlainen – History as uncreative writing
Robert Doran – Hayden White and the Practical Past