COLLECTIVE EXPERIENCES IN HISTORY

POSTPONED TO MARCH 2023
TAMPERE UNIVERSITY, FINLAND

FIFTH ANNUAL HEX CONFERENCE

Please notice: the HEX conference “Collective Experiences in History” is postponed until March 2023.

On a brighter note, we do plan to proceed with the digital poster session for early career researchers this year (having had such success with the format during HEX 2021), with an online event planned for Tuesday 15th March. Digital posters will be available one week before the scheduled day to registered participants only. If you wish to take part, please contact conference coordinator Mikko Kemppainen hex2022@tuni.fi for further instructions.

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic as well as the escalating climate crisis point to the acute necessity of understanding collective experiences. How do we conceive of and perceive what happens to us together? How do we collectively react (or fail to react) to such experiences? The era of social media creates new ways to share experiences and emotions, revealing how collective experiences can be produced and mediated. Why do some events and experiences seem to be collectively shared and acted upon while others do not?

Historical research can provide important answers to these questions, for example by historicizing the dynamics between subjective and collective experiences, by analyzing the ways shared realities are constructed in different historical contexts, and by studying the changing roles of different media and systems of meaning in shaping collective experiences. Nevertheless, if we wish to elaborate on collective experiences and their limits, the available historiographical approaches and methodologies need to be further developed. Often, the “collective” is used loosely to refer to any social grouping, synonymous with a number of other terms (social, shared, communal, joint, national, etc), or it is avoided altogether in order not to presume any collective mind or monolithic identity. Historians’ suspicions towards collective experiences are well-founded: when looked at through intersectional lenses – class, age, gender, disability, ethnicity, etc. – seemingly collective experiences are usually diverse. Yet while hardly any historian assumes that a nation or a people experience events uniformly, it is still commonplace to use a shorthand, such as “Finnish” or “imperial” experience. What can historians learn from the social and behavioral sciences in thinking about collective experiences and emotions? And what is the historian’s contribution to the study of collective experiences?

To answer these and other related questions, the conference will be an opportunity to develop collective experiences as a concept for historical analysis and explanation. Professor Piroska Nagy (Université du Québec à Montréal), Professor Mikko Salmela (University of Copenhagen) and Professor Maarten Van Ginderachter (University of Antwerp), will provide wide-ranging intellectual keynote lectures to stimulate our consideration of collective experiences in history.

The call for papers is open until 28 November 2021.

Organisers