June 15 | CHC Research Meeting with Anna Clark and Chiel van den Akker

Dr Anna Clark & Dr Chiel van den Akker

On Thursday June 15, the Center for Historical Culture organizes a research meeting with Dr Anna Clark and Dr Chiel van den Akker (VU Amsterdam). They will present new perspectives on writing historical narratives in post-colonial and digitized societies.


Dr Anna Clark will present the paper "The sound of 'silence': overcoming narrative omission in Australian history."

Abstract: Prompted by a series of post-colonial critques of the history discipline, the power of history to 'white out' Indigenous perspectives in Australian history has been studied in great detail. This paper draws on that growing body of historiography to consider the idea of silence as a counter narrative to Australia's national memory since World War II. It explores how forgotten narratives can powerfully challenge a nation's collective memory, and the discipline of history itself. And it contemplates the need for history to construct disciplinary knowledge outside of its traditional archival domain. After all, if the archives are silent, how can historical knowledge be constructed?

Dr Chiel van den Akker will present a paper on how we relate to the past in our present-day digital culture, in particular through museum exhibitions. His talk is based on a chapter he wrote for the book 'Museums in a Digital Culture: How Art and Heritage Become Meaningful', which he co-edited with prof.dr. Susan Legêne (VU Amsterdam).


Anna Clark is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Co-Director of the Australian Centre for Public History at the University of Technology Sydney. With Stuart Macintyre, she wrote the History Wars in 2003, which was awarded the NSW Premier’s Prize for Australian History and the Queensland Premier’s Prize for Best Literary or Media Work Advancing Public Debate. Her PhD thesis, Teaching the Nation, was published by Melbourne University Press in 2006 and examines debates about teaching Australian history in schools. Anna’s most recent project, Private Lives, Public History, used interviews with 100 Australians from around the country to consider and include their thoughts on history alongside public and political discussions about the past.

Chiel van den Akker is assistant professor of Historical Theory at the department of Art and Culture, History and Antiquities of VU University. He is interested in the philosophy of history and science, contemporary historiography, museums, and art. He received his Ph.D in philosophy from Radboud University Nijmegen in 2009 with a thesis on the nature of historical representation. His work is concerned with narrative, representation, historical understanding, and digital culture.


More information

Practical information

Time: June 15, 15.00-17.00 hrs

Location: Erasmus University Rotterdam, Woudestein-campus, Mandeville (T)-building, Room T3-20

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