Unofficial Histories 2015: Amsterdam

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Friday 5 & Saturday 6 June 2015 at the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam.

"Amsterdam 052006" by Patrick Clenet

The fourth annual Unofficial Histories conference took place in Amsterdam over two days:

  • Friday 5th June 2015 was a day of papers, presentations and debate at the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam.
  • Saturday 6th June 2015 was a relaxed day exploring the ‘Unofficial Histories of Amsterdam’.

Like a famous Dutch beer advertising slogan, the Unofficial Histories conference aims to refresh the parts other conferences cannot reach. Our commitment is to developing new and alternative ways of thinking about and producing history and we take our stand with all those eccentrics, misfits, agitators and outliers who have helped to activate radical and dissident currents in our historical imagination.

From Raphael Samuel, we take the view that history is a very broad-based activity that ought to be a common enterprise, both collaborative and democratic. We also believe that history is ultimately a political undertaking and, as Howard Zinn put it, “historians cannot choose to be neutral; [they] write on a moving train.” For us that means exploring the myriad ways in which politics and history collide, fuse, or brush past one another, not just in the content of our interpretations, but also in the forms and practices we use to present and communicate our ideas, and in the general conditions under which we produce them. It also means insisting upon the idea, unfashionable in some quarters, that history still matters and can be a call to action.

Thank you to everyone who came to Unofficial Histories 2015! We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did! See you next year!

Unofficial Histories 2015 was kindly supported by the International Institute of Social History and the  International Institute for Research and Education and the History Workshop Journal.

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