International historian and theorist inaugurates new research centre seminar series

Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington, vice-chancellor at the Australian National University in Canberra, and well-known theorist gave the inaugural paper in the newly formed St Mary’s University College Centre for the Philosophy of History seminar series on Thursday 12th September.

Her paper was entitled History as Wonder and explored the role wonder could have in the making of history. It ranged from Bulgarian dwarfs employed by Mediterranean pirates to sink ships, to unsuccessful 19th century world histories, Aristotle, Foucault and hysteria.

The paper marks the start of a new research project/book in which Marnie wants to explore the notion of wonder as a means of destabilizing not only how we conceive of history but also how we think about the theory of history. Marnie is the author of many books including History Goes to the Movies (2007), ‘How Good an Historian Shall I Be?’: R. G. Collingwood, the Historical Imagination and Education (2003); and Fifty Key Thinkers on History (third edition expected 2014).

Her latest book Revisionist Histories (2013), through a series of case studies looking at graphic novels, websites, marginalia in library books, and wall murals, explores how authors and audiences are constantly involved in the rewriting of history and are therefore active participants in the construction of historical meanings. Just as in the paper she gave, she also considers the ethical implications of this for historiography and historical discourse in general. Marnie is one of the external affiliates of the Centre for the Philosophy of History.

Dr Claire Norton, Senior Lecturer and co-Director for the Centre for the Philosophy of History invites contributions to the Centre via the blog:

“We welcome blog entries on any subject related to the philosophy of history including book and conference reviews, short essays or opinion pieces. Please send to Mark (mark.donnelly@smuc.ac.uk) or Claire (claire.norton@smuc.ac.uk)”

The Centre for Philosophy of History will be officially launched at an event on 1st October 2013