The Resilient Historian


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My presentation at the New History Lab [] on The Resilient Historian. This will also form the backbone of a workshop at the History HEA Subject Centre Conference.

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The Resilient Historian

  1. 1. The Resilient Historian Richard Hall (, @hallymk1)
  2. 2. me: work <ul><li>PhD = C18th political engagement/relationships to power/role of community in civil and political action </li></ul><ul><li>RA on Effective Early Learning Project </li></ul><ul><li>Project Manager on HEFCE-funded technology-in Humanities project [ Chic ] </li></ul><ul><li>E-Learning Co-ordinator @ DMU; History mentor; NTFS </li></ul>
  3. 3. me: voluntary <ul><li>I am a Trustee of this: I am a Governor here: I am a disillusioned football fan: I twitter at: </li></ul>
  4. 5. <ul><li>What does the act of being a historian in C21st civil society mean? </li></ul><ul><li>Uncoerced </li></ul><ul><li>Shared </li></ul><ul><li>Boundaries </li></ul><ul><li>Diversity </li></ul><ul><li>Advocacy </li></ul><ul><li>Decision-making </li></ul><ul><li>Agency </li></ul><ul><li>Power </li></ul>
  5. 6. Word 1: context <ul><li>Resilience: thriving in spite of disruption </li></ul><ul><li>Decision-making and agency </li></ul><ul><li>Co-governance: towards social justice </li></ul><ul><li>Core economy: what do we value? </li></ul>
  6. 7. Word 2: disruption <ul><li>The economy </li></ul><ul><li>The environment </li></ul><ul><li>Power and control </li></ul><ul><li>Energy </li></ul><ul><li>Techno-determinism </li></ul>
  7. 8. Word 3: complexity <ul><li>disruption and cultural context </li></ul>
  8. 9. Ravensbourne, 2008 Hall , 2009; after Ravensbourne, 2008
  9. 10. Word 4: resilience <ul><li>Rob Hopkins: Transition Culture </li></ul><ul><li>“ the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganise while undergoing change, so as to retain essentially the same function, structure, identity and feedbacks” </li></ul><ul><li>Systemic diversity, modularity, feedback </li></ul>
  10. 11. Word 5: action <ul><li>we have a choice between reliance on government and its resources, and its approach to command and control, or developing an empowering day-to-day community resilience. Such resilience develops engagement, education, empowerment and encouragement </li></ul><ul><li>Political action or civil action? [DEMOS, nef] </li></ul>
  11. 12. Word 6: critical <ul><li>Gramsci on organic intellectuals: praxis in context </li></ul><ul><li>Friere on critical pedagogy: social transformation and emancipation </li></ul><ul><li>Habermas on legitimation, colonisation, value and participation in a “lifeworld” </li></ul><ul><li>Barnett on the will to learn </li></ul>
  12. 13. Word 7: lessons <ul><li>Owenite co-operation </li></ul><ul><li>Thompson’s legitimation of craft and class consciousness </li></ul><ul><li>Cuban attempts at self-sufficiency </li></ul><ul><li>Chavez and Venuzuela </li></ul><ul><li>Holocaust denial </li></ul><ul><li>The ideology of UKIP/BNP </li></ul>
  13. 14. Word 8: role <ul><li>Tosh: context; risk-management; open agendas </li></ul><ul><li>Validity, reliability, plausibility, detachment </li></ul><ul><li>Managing complexity and difference of interpretation </li></ul><ul><li>“ [History] lives through debate and controversy, and that very sense of controversy by analogy is what should be sustaining public debate more generally” </li></ul>
  14. 15. Some unused words <ul><li>Adaptation </li></ul><ul><li>Awareness </li></ul><ul><li>Dependence </li></ul><ul><li>Revaluing </li></ul><ul><li>Persistence </li></ul>
  15. 16. Towards a curriculum for resilience? <ul><li>Complexity and increasing uncertainty in the world demands resilience </li></ul><ul><li>Integrated and social, rather than a subject-driven </li></ul><ul><li>Engaging with uncertainty through projects that involve diverse voices in civil action </li></ul><ul><li>Discourses of power – co-governance? </li></ul><ul><li>Authentic partnerships, mentoring and enquiry, in method, context, interpretation and action </li></ul>
  16. 17. <ul><li>How does History enable C21st society to address disruption? </li></ul><ul><li>How do historians support the development of ideas, decision-making and agency? </li></ul><ul><li>Are we helping people to exist in authentic, socio-political spaces where switches may be turned off? </li></ul>Resilience: w hat do we value?
  17. 19. Licensing This presentation is licensed under a Creative Commons, Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales license See: