CANCELLED! Genres of Historical Writing in Early Modern Europe

This event has been cancelled to prevent spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The conference invites to conversations and discussions of texts and text genres that were regarded as “history”, before history was professionalized during the 19th century.

Gamle historiebøker i bokhylle.

Foto: Emil Johnsen

Historia magistra vitae

Before history became a research discipline it was a composite of literature, rhetoric, moral examples, political theory and a lot more, all subsumed in the traditional phrase "historia magistra vitae": History is the teacher of life.

Historical narratives varied in genre and type and could include travelogues, biographies, letters, "relations", descriptions, memoirs, funeral orations or portraits – in addition to political or "perfect" history. They presented the history of states and realms, but just as frequently histories told about important individuals or powerful families, foreign countries and towns or other remarkable particularities.

Though marginalized by later professionalization of history, this diversity of texts, and even images, is a rich and fruitful source not only to early modern life, but also to early modern understandings of history, memory and the past, and to its categories and genres of knowledge.

The conference will investigate the following questions:

  • What kinds of histories were told, with what aims and to whom?
  • How were hierarchies of genres created, maintained or changed?
  • In what ways did this multitude of histories affect the idea of history?
  • And in what ways does it affect our idea of history today?


Wednesday, March 18th

12.00–13.00 Registration and lunch
13.00–14.00 Welcome Keynote lecture Mark Salber Phillips, Carleton University «From History Painting to the Painting of History. The Evolution of a Visual Genre»
14.00–14.15 Break
14.15–14.45 Ina Louise Stovner «Constructing a moment in history»
14.45–15.15 Thomas Slettebø «’Compiled from original authors’. On the status of compilers and compilation as historiographical practice in the eighteenth century»
15.15–15.30 Coffee
15.30–16.00 Helge Jordheim «On the Colours of History. Why Rome is Red, Greece Green, and Germany Yellow»

Thursday, March 19th

10.00–10.15 Coffee

10.15–11.15 Keynote lecture Claire Boulard Jouslin, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle–Paris 3 «From amusement to study? Writing history in the 18th-century essay periodical press»

11.15–11.30 Break

11.30–12.00 Anne Helness «The Travel Collection – A new Kind of Historical Genre?»
12.00–12.30 John Ødemark «Between the Mother of God and the Father of Culture – Paradigms of Historiography in Boturini and Vico»
12.30–13.30 Lunch
13.30–14.30 Keynote lecture. Angus Vine, University of Stirling «'Historie Defaced'? Antiquaries, Miscellanies and the Shipwreck of Time»
14.30–14.45 Coffee
14.45–15.15 Ellen Krefting «Secret springs, real causes and naked truths: Secret histories, anecdotes and private lives in the library of Drejer’s club, 1792»
15.15–15.45 Emil Johnsen «Satirical histories? Niels Ditlev Riegels’ (1755-1802) ‘small’ historical writings in the late 18th century public sphere»
15.45–16.15 Thor Inge Rørvik «Histories of morality, eclecticism and eighteenth century DanishNorwegian philosophy»
18.00 Conference dinner

Friday, March 19th

10.00–10.15 Coffee

10.15–10.45 Philip Lavender «The History of Settlement-Period Iceland in Early Modern Forgeries»
10.45–11.15 Svein Atle Skålevåg «Evidence from the Orient. On Georg Høst’s history of the Moroccan Emperor Mohammed ben Abdallah (1791)»
11.15–11.30 Break
11.15–11.45 Anne Eriksen «Making Facts From Stones. Gerhard Schøning and the Cathedral of Trondheim»
11.45–12.15 Håkon Evju «How far was it from Sorø to Göttingen? Gerhard Schøning, August Ludwig Schlözer and the late eighteenth-century-debate over ancient Northern history.»
12.15–13.15 Lunch
13.15–14.15 Keynote lecture. Karen Skovgaard-Petersen, Det Danske Sprog- og Litteraturselskab «Entering the European canon – on early modern editions of Scandinavian medieval historiography»
14.15–14.30 Concluding remarks

Påmelding her


Anne Eriksen, professor Kulturhistorie og museologi

Emil Nicklas Johnsen, stipendiat idéhistorie


Published Feb. 11, 2020 12:50 PM - Last modified June 2, 2020 4:09 PM