Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication, Erasmus University Rotterdam
in collaboration with Utrecht University (OGC),
Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)
BEYOND THE CANON -HISTORY FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
at the Municipal Archives Rotterdam
16-17 June 2005
Outline of conference theme
Although it would be exaggerated to proclaim the end of the nation in the near future, it cannot be denied that nations have become porous and contested. Consequentially, the practices of cultural transmission and education based upon them have likewise become precarious. After a half-century of decolonization, migration and postcoloniality, feminism and the gendering of historical discourse, the received canon of national history and political thought no longer commands the 'natural authority' it once possessed.
Even so, we have to confront the paradox that, despite the vast amount of criticism leveled at it, the canon is still being recycled over and over again in textbooks and publications aimed at a broader public. Educators and public moralists frequently recommend the canon as the only alternative to the postmodernist maze of relativism and contingency.
The conference sets out to discuss various dimensions of this paradox of de-canonization, such as gender, postcoloniality and migration, equality and the Enlightenment, situating them in the shifting balance of national, European and World History. It will investigate the feasibility of revised, multiform and more open 'canons', and the role they might play in cultural transmission in the twenty-first century.
The Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication at Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands, is proud to host this international two-day conference and is looking forward to a stimulating exchange of views and experiences in a field the importance of which will be recognized both inside and outside the academic world.