17/06/2019
7:30 pm

Our June 2019 meeting was a talk by Dr Christopher Fear on the subject “The Relevance of History to Us”. Dr Fear says of his talk,

“Each autumn, in universities from Cardiff to Sydney, students find themselves in seminar rooms invited to discuss the writings of long-dead European men concerning events and situations that are no longer happening—usually beginning in ancient Athens. But these people are not history students. They are not literature students either, necessarily. They are very often politics undergraduates, who are primarily interested in the political problems of today and perhaps tomorrow. So what relevance does history have to them, and to us, given that history does not really repeat itself, and that no historian has successfully demonstrated that his discipline can provide “laws” which we might use for predicting the future? In this presentation I discuss the way in which this and related questions were tackled in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s by the Oxford philosopher, archaeologist, and historian of Roman Britain, R. G. Collingwood. Collingwood’s answers do not help us to see into the future; they help us to do something much more important: to understand better the problems of the present.”

Dr Fear lectures in Politics at the University of Hull.