History and Theory (inactive)

The History and Theory Working Group focuses on theoretical and methodological issues such as philosophy of history, historical research, interpretation, and narrative—not necessarily confined to the history of science. The working group meets monthly to discuss a colleague’s work in progress or to discuss readings that are of particular interest to participants.

Meetings are usually held at the Consortium offices in Philadelphia from 3:30 to 5:00 on second Fridays. Scholars located anywhere can also participate online.

To join this working group, click "Request group membership" at right. You will receive instructions for participating online or in person.

Upcoming Meetings

Please set your timezone at https://www.chstm.org/user

There are no currently scheduled upcoming events.

Past Meetings

  • April 5, 2016

    The group will discuss Andrew Shryock and Daniel Lord Smail, Deep History: The Architecture of Past and Present (University of California Press, 2011), Ch 1 & 2. If time permits, members are encouraged to also read Daniel Lord Smail, On Deep History and the Brain (University of California Press, 2008), Ch. 4, and Michael Bentley, “Past and ‘Presence’: Revisiting Historical Ontology,” History and Theory 45 (October 2006): 349-361.

  • March 1, 2016

    Elly Truitt introduced Kathleen Davis, Periodization and Sovereignty: How Ideas of Feudalism and Secularization Govern the Politics of Time (UPenn, 2008), Introduction and Chapter 3; and Carol Symes, “When We Talk About Modernity,” American Historical Review (June, 2011): 715-26.

  • February 2, 2016
    The group discussed Greg Dening, “Performing on the Beaches of the Mind: An Essay,” History and Theory 41, no. 1 (2002): 1-24, and Berber Bevernage, “Tales of pastness and contemporaneity: on politics of time in history and anthropology,” MS. )  
  • May 3, 2016

    The group discussed Michel Serres with Bruno Latour, Conversations on Science, Culture, and Time (Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 1995): 43-76, and John Zammito, “History/Philosophy/Science: Some Lessons for Philosophy of History,” History and Theory 50 (2011): 390-413. Some group members also read Serres, “Mathematics and Philosophy: What Thales Saw...” in Hermes: Literature, Science, Philosophy (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982): 84-97.

  • December 6, 2016
    The group discussed two readings:
    Bill Brown, “Overture” and “Coda” from Other Things (Chicago ; London: The University of Chicago Press, 2015);
    Bill Brown, “Thing Theory,” Critical Inquiry 28, no. 1 (2001): 1–22.
  • November 1, 2016

    The group discussed two articles: Marisol De La Cadena, "Indigenous Cosmopolitics in the Andes: Conceptual Reflections beyond 'Politics,'" Cultural Anthropology 25, no. 2 (May 1, 2010): 334-70 and Tim Ingold, "Materials against Materiality," Archaeological Dialogues 14, no. 1 (June 2007): 1-16.

  • October 4, 2016

    This year's theme for the History & Theory Working Group is "ontology and materiality." They began with a discussion of two essays: Greg Anderson's "Retrieving the Lost Worlds of the Past: The Case for an Ontological Turn" and Paul Roth's "Ways of Pastmaking."

  • December 1, 2015

    The group discussed Ch. 1 of Johannes Fabian, Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes its Object (Columbia, 1983); Ch. 6 of David Carr, Time, Narrative, and History (Indiana University Press, 1991); and John Zammito, "Koselleck's Philosophy of Historical Time(s) and the Practice of History," History and Theory 43 (2004): 124-35.

  • November 3, 2015

    The group discussed John Zammito, "Koselleck's Philosophy of Historical Time(s) and the Practice of History," History and Theory 43 (2004): 124-35; Johannes Fabian, Preface and Ch. 2, Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes its Object (Columbia, 1983); and David Carr, Chapter 1, "The temporal structure of experience and action," Time, Narrative, and History (Indiana University Press, 1991)

  • October 6, 2015

    The group discussed Dipesh Chakrabarty, "The Climate of History: Four Theses," Critical Inquiry 35, no. 2 (2009): 197-222, and Reinhard Koselleck, "Chapter 6: Time and History," from The Practice of Conceptual History: Timing History, Spacing Concepts (Stanford University Press, 2002).

Group Conveners


233 Members