"History, Story, Narrative"
Historians are far from the only interested party in writing history. In a sense it is an interest we all share – whether we are talking politics, region, family birthright, or even personal experience. We are spectators to the process of history while being intimately situated within its impact and formations.
How, then, best to write it? Is it always the victor’s version? Have we not begun increasingly to write “history from below”, that lived by those who are not at the top of the power hierarchy? Are accounts of history always gender-inflected, hitherto, at least, towards men rather than women? Who gets to tell history if the issue is colonialism or class? How does geography, the power of place, intersect with history? What is the status of the personal story or narrative within the larger frame of events?
This conference addresses issues of writing history from literary and other discursive perspectives. That is to say: novels, plays, poems, autobiographies, memoirs, diaries, travel logs and a variety of styles of essay. One thinks of Shakespeare’s history plays, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Shi Nai’an’s The Water Margin, Balzac’s La Comédie Humaine. It also addresses oral history, the spoken account or witness, the Hiroshima survivor to the modern Syrian migrant.
Which also connects to the nexus of media and history. The great “historical” films continue to hold us, be it Eisenstein’s October: Ten Days That Shook the World (1925) or Gone with the Wind (1940). We live in an age of documentaries, whether film or TV. There is a view that we also inhabit “instant” history, the download to laptop, the app, the all-purpose mobile. How has this technology changed our perception, our lived experience, of history? What is the role of commemoration, parade, holiday, festival or statuary in the writing of history?
The different modes by which we see and understand history, flow and counter-flow, nevertheless come back to certain basics.
One asks whether we deceive ourselves in always asking for some grand narrative. Can there only be one narrator or is history by necessity a colloquium, contested ground? Is national history a myth? And history-writing itself: is it actually a form of fiction, an artifice which flatters to deceive? What, exactly, is a historical fact?
This conference, we hope, will address these perspectives and others that connect and arise.
In conjunction with our Global Partners, including Waseda University (Japan) and The Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University (USA), we look forward to extending you a warm welcome in 2017.
Why Join an IAFOR Conference?
The International Academic Forum (IAFOR) welcomes academics from all over the world to our interdisciplinary conferences held in Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East. Our events provide a unique international, intercultural and interdisciplinary environment in which to hear the latest world-class research and network with leading academics, professionals and practitioners.
Our conferences are meticulously planned under the direction of prominent academics to ensure that they offer programmes of the highest level, and are supported by some of the world’s leading academic institutions, including the University of London (UK), Virginia Tech (USA), Barcelona University (Spain), Waseda University (Japan), Monash University (Australia), University of Sussex (UK), Medill School of Journalism (USA), Moscow State University (Russia) and The University of Tokyo, (Japan).
By facilitating dialogue between the world’s academics and thought leaders, IAFOR has become a pioneer in providing the research avenues and visionary development solutions that are necessary in our rapidly emerging globalised world. We welcome you to engage in this expanding global academic community of individuals and network of institutions, and look forward to seeing you at one of our future events.