opening-of history centre-01We are Claire Norton and Mark Donnelly – Co-Directors of the Philosophy of History Centre at St Mary’s University.

Mark Donnelly is Senior Lecturer and Teaching Fellow in History. His main research and teaching interests include the politics of historicisation, social memory, and contemporary culture and aesthetics. He is the author of Britain in the Second World War (1999), Sixties Britain: Culture, Society and Politics (2005) and Doing History (co-authored with Claire Norton, 2011) . He has written recently on subjects including Holocaust memory, the politics of sixties historiography, and films by Peter Whitehead and Michael Winterbottom. His latest book, Liberating Histories: truths, power, ethics (co-authored with Claire Norton) will be published in 2016, and he is working on an edited volume of essays about popular music and English identities.

Claire Norton is Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow in History. Her research and teaching interests include epistemological and ethical issues concerning the consumption and production of historical discourse; the impact of nation state cartographies on the way we construct the past, the fictional status of historical narratives of various sorts; and Ottoman cultural and intellectual history. She has edited books a number of books including Nationalism, Historiography and the (Re)Construction of the Past and The Renaissance and the Ottoman World. She is co-author with Mark Donnelly of Doing History and is currently writing another book with him entitled Liberating Histories: Truths, Power, Ethics (London: Routledge, forthcoming 2016). She is also editing a book on early-modern conversion in the Mediterranean World and finishing a book on Ottoman textualities.

CakeClaire is a reluctant historian. She started out studying philosophy, then, rather unexpectedly, as she had never studied history before, switched to Ottoman history and now tries to combine both in her teaching and research. Richard Rorty and Wittgenstein are the philosophers who have possibly had the most impact on her thought. In terms of theorists, David Harlan‘s work has had a profound influence recently.  Two history books, that have nothing to do with Ottoman history that she found compelling are Greg Dening Mr Bligh’s Bad Language: Passion, Power and Theatre on the Bounty and Jonathan Walker Pistols! Treason! Murder! The Rise and Fall of a Master Spy.  Gabriel Piterberg’s An Ottoman Tragedy: History and Historiography at Play (Berkeley: The University of California Press, 2003) and his earlier PhD thesis, was the inspiration for her own work in the field of Ottoman studies. Dan Goffman’s The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002) is the best introduction to Ottoman history and has the added benefit of being one of the few somewhat experimental Ottoman histories in that each chapter is prefaced by a short ‘fictional’ vignette. Claire has another secret life in which she makes cheese and jam, grows vegetables, chases alpacas and bakes rather nice cakes.

This blog is a space for us to discuss issues we find interesting related to the cultural politics of historicisation. We also post reviews seminar papers and books and provide information about the various events that the Centre for the Philosophy of History runs. You can also find interviews with some theorists, philosophers and historians on the site. Our students also sometimes post reviews here and once a year we post copies of the conference papers they give at the annual undergraduate philosophy of history conference.

If you have something to say related in any way to the issues surrounding the production and consumption of historical discourse and want to be a guest blogger do get in touch with us as we would love to have you join in the conversation.

We are lucky enough to have some wonderful guest bloggers who help us out with this site.

The most generous with his time and thoughtful analysis is Peter P. Icke. Peter was previously an airline pilot, but a chance encounter with Keith Jenkins at the University of Chichester led to him undertaking a PhD and becoming a historical theorist. Peter has recently published a critique of the work of Frank Ankersmit, Frank Ankersmit’s Lost Historical Cause: A Journey from Language to Experience

A lot of the photographs on this site are by Pete Kyle. Pete is a photographer and film maker with an interest in social and political subjects. From photographing demos in the 1980s

Pete1to being given the opportunity to travel to some of the most remote countries in the world in 2013Pete2Whilst making a documentary about the problems of landmines in post-conflict areas he was able to take these photos. He was given unprecedented access, but more importantly, heard stories that are not normally heard. This has driven him to want to get back to Somaliland and Kosovo to tell two such stories in 2014. If you are interested in Pete’s work, see more of it here:

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