There are two keynote lectures during the congress, one on Monday morning (Maya Jasanoff) and one on Tuesday afternoon (Poul Holm), and the congress will conclude with a plenary roundtable on Wednesday afternoon (led by Erkki Tuomioja).
Maya Jasanoff, ”The Worlds of Joseph Conrad”
Writing at the turn of the 20th century, in the shadow of expanding empire and increasing transcontinental interconnection, Joseph Conrad captured the tensions of what we would today call ”globalization” in a literary oeuvre of extraordinary depth. This lecture will explore how Conrad was both a mirror and a product of his times, whose life experience as a commercial sailor and a Polish immigrant to Britain informed his perspectives on global capitalism, expansionist imperialism, and unprecedented migration.
Maya Jasanoff is the X. D. and Nancy Yang Professor of Arts and Sciences and Coolidge Professor of History at Harvard University. She is the author of three prize-winning books—Edge of Empire: Lives, Culture, and Conquest in the East, 1750-1850, Liberty’s Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World, and The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World—which explore British imperial and global history with particular emphasis on border-crossing individuals and their material and cultural surroundings. Among the numerous recognitions she and her work have won are the Cundill Prize in History, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Non-Fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Windham-Campbell Prize. She is a frequent contributor to publications including The New Yorker, The Guardian, and The New York Times.
Poul Holm, ”Atlantic Wealth, 1500–1800”
From medieval to modern times, humans crossed the South and North Atlantic in pursuit of wealth. Southern crossings were driven by a lust for mineral wealth, gold and silver, and later tobacco and cotton, while northern crossings were driven by a hunt for marine wealth, walrus and whales, fish and fur. Both were immensely lucrative undertakings with enormous human and environmental consequences.
Poul Holm is Professor of Environmental History at Trinity College, Dublin, and a Guest Professor at the University of Gothenburg. In the past two decades he has been at the forefront of developing new modes of inquiry into human exploitation of the sea and understanding the impact of human extractions for the marine environment. His current research interest is North Atlantic fisheries c. 1400–1700. From 2021 he leads a new ERC Synergy project 4-OCEANS on the history of humans and marine life through the last two millennia. Holm is Chair of the Humanities Class of Academia Europaea. He was previously Vice-chancellor of Roskilde University and Professor of History at Aarhus University. He has published widely on coastal history, medieval and Viking history, digital humanities, and more.
Roundtable: ”The Politics of History in the Nordic Countries”
How do historians, politicians and the media deal with the politics of history? Can historians prevent the misuse of history in fostering conflicts and hampering efforts at conflict resolution? How should politicians in government and parliaments deal with historical issues? Is it a good idea to pass parliamentary resolutions or even legislation on historical issues, such as when to call an event a genocide or not?
Should the role of governments in the politics of history be limited to seeing that independent historical research is adequately financed and that historians have free access to archives and other historical material?
Are there any open issues of history between the Nordic countries or between Nordic countries and their neigbous which should be openly addressed so as to remove them from being potential sources of conflict?
These are some of the questions we want to adress at the concluding roundtable discussion on the Politics of History arranged jointly by Historians without Borders and the Nordic Council. There will be four panelists, two with a background primarily in politics and two with a background primarily in historical research. The panel will be moderated by Erkki Tuomioja.
Erkki Tuomioja (born 1946) is President of the Nordic Council in 2008 and 2022, Ph.D. and adjunct professor in Political History at the University of Helsinki. He has been MP in Finland 1970–79 and from 1991, Deputy Mayor in Helsinki 1979–1991, Minister for Trade and Industry 1999–2000 and Minister for Foreign Affairs 2000–2007 and 2011–2017. He is founder and chairman of the Finnish NGO Historians without Borders and its international network and has published over twenty books on history and current affairs.