Author: Ilkka Lähteenmäki

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PhD Theses alert: Engaging History in the Media – Building a Framework for interpreting historical presentations as worlds

PhD Theses alert: Engaging History in the Media – Building a Framework for interpreting historical presentations as worlds

Ilkka Lähteenmäki succesfully defended his dissertation in December 2019. The electronic version of the dissertation is available through Oulu University Library, or just use this link. The electronic version lacks previously published journal articles. If those are of interest the Ilkka is more than happy to send you copies.

Conference Follow-Up: 3rd INTH Conference: Place and Displacement

Conference Follow-Up: 3rd INTH Conference: Place and Displacement

The third installment of International Network of Theory of History’s biennial conference series took place August 20. – 22. 2018 in Stockholm. The two previous iterations of the conferences took place in Ghent, Belgium (2013) and Ouro Preto, Brasil (2016) INTH conferences are a very important event for the field of theory (and philosophy) of history as it is not yet a very solidly established research field in the academia.


Rethinking Historian’s Expertise -network had a large representation on the premises with several of its members presenting their work in different sessions.


Rethink Networks Representation at the Event in Alphabetical Order

Jonas Ahlskog: Existential history and the presence of the past
Jonas delved into the concept of “presence” by discussing R.G. Collingwood’s works in relation to the contemporary discussion of presence that has been going on by for example Eelco Runia.

Natan Elgabsi: The Reality We Must Face
Natan took a dive into the idea, originally presented by Cora Diamond, called “difficulty of reality” and how the idea responds to descriptions of the past. In his talk Natan brought forth the interesting (and important) question of how incapable we are to engage with the real experiences of past people through textual descriptions and how reality in text is more of a style of representation than anything relating to the actual.

Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen: Redefining the critical and conservative writing of history
Jouni-Matti is leading a research project called “Microhistorical Epistemology” that looks into the practice of history. He gave a short overall description of the whole project before giving his personal presentation as the project had a whole session to itself with four presenters. In his personal presentation Jouni-Matti analyzed one of the fundamental differentiations of historiography between description and interpretation.

Ilkka Lähteenmaki: The Curious Case of Alexander I’s speech in Porvoo – A case study of source usage in a historical debate
Ilkka showcased some source-network graphs he had created from a long lasting historical debate in hopes to uncover some unvoiced standars in historians practice of using sources to make arguments. Ilkka is also part of the “Microhistorical Epistemology” project run by Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen.

Kalle Pihlainen was part of plenary panel (with Ewa Domanska, Paul Roth, María Inés La Greca, Xin Cheng, and Veronica Tozzi) called: Globalizing Hayden White: A tribute to his work
The plenary was held partially in memory of the late Hayden White and partially to celebrate his truly global legacy. Kalle’s focus was on the constructivist aspects of White’s work.

Marjaana Puurtinen: The making of historians. Young academics’ views on the concept of ‘history’.
Marjaana discussed her work that she has been doing with Mikko Kainulainen and Arja Virta which looks into how history students conceptualize history. This time her presentation focused in one question they had presented to history students: “How would you visualize ´history´?” which got some interesting answers.

Conference Follow-up: Role of the Philosophy of History

Conference Follow-up: Role of the Philosophy of History

The ReThink team was well presented in the Role of the Philosophy of History conference as Jouni-Matti, Kari, and Ilkka were the event’s organisers.

Kalle and Jouni-Matti were also panelists (the third panelist being no other than Frank Ankersmit) in the Friday evening’s panel discussion about the Role of the Journals of Philosophy of History.

University of Oulu’s Centre for Philosophical Studies of History has made videos of all the Keynote’s and of the Friday evenings panel discussion available online

Postnarrativist Philosophy of Historiography

Postnarrativist Philosophy of Historiography

Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen’s book Postnarrativist Philosophy of Historiography (2015) was recently published by Palgrave.Blog_pstnarrBody

Postnarrativist Philosophy of Historiography argues that narrativism has made important contributions to the theory and philosophy of historiography but that it is now time to move beyond it to postnarrativism. Much of the theorizing of historiography has focused on defending either absolutist historical realism or relativist postmodernism. Kuukkanen shows how it is possible to reject the truth-functional evaluation of interpretations and yet accept that historiography can be assessed by rational standards. The postnarrativist view maintains that studies of history are informal arguments for theses about the past and that they are always located somewhere between subjectivity and objectivity.

Kari Väyrynen

Kari Väyrynen

Centre for Philosophical Studies of History, University of Oulu

Kari Väyrynen is senior university lecturer and adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Oulu. He is a co-director of The Oulu Centre for Theoretical and Philosophical Studies of History and of the Centre for Environmental Humanities (University of Oulu). His research focuses on the philosophy and theory of history, history of philosophy (especially Antiquity and classical German Idealism), philosophy of education and environmental philosophy. He has recently edited (with Jarmo Pulkkinen) two books on the theory and philosophy of history (in Finnish, Vastapaino 2015 & 2016).