Beyond the canon. History for the twenty-first century

Beyond the canon. History for the twenty-first century

Organised by the Faculty of History and Arts, Erasmus University Rotterdam in collaboration with Utrecht University (OGC), Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)
From - Until
16.06.2005 - 17.06.2005
Ribbens, Kees

Although it would be exaggerated to proclaim the end of the nation in the near future, it cannot be denied that nations have become porous and contested. Consequentially, the practices of cultural transmission and education based upon them have likewise become precarious. After a half-century of decolonization, migration and postcoloniality, feminism and the gendering of historical discourse, the received canon of national history and political thought no longer commands the 'natural authority' it once possessed.

Even so, we have to confront the paradox that, despite the vast amount of criticism leveled at it, the canon is still being recycled over and over again in textbooks and publications aimed at a broader public. Educators and public moralists frequently recommend the canon as the only alternative to the postmodernist maze of relativism and contingency. The conference BEYOND THE CANON sets out to discuss various dimensions of this paradox of de-canonization, such as gender, postcoloniality and migration, equality and the Enlightenment, situating them in the shifting balance of national, European and World History. It will investigate the feasibility of revised, multiform and more open 'canons', and the role they might play in cultural transmission in the twenty-first century.


On Thursday June, 16 there will be sessions on :
- Do We Need a Canon to Frame our Histories ? ;
- Enlightenment, Equality, and Modernity's Multiple Histories ;
- Postcolonial History and the Deconstruction of National Narratives ;
- Multicultural History Teaching

On Friday June, 17 there will be sessions on :
- Citizenship and Identity: Return of the Canon ? ;
- Gendering the Canon / Canonizing Gender ? ;
- Comparing National Canons and the Teaching of History ;
- Paradoxes of De-Canonization in History: The Nation, Europe and the World

Speakers include :
Christine Counsell MA, MEd (UK) - Prof. Dr. Maria Grever (the Netherlands) - Dr. Hendrik Henrichs (the Netherlands) - Prof. Dr. Kirstie McClure (USA) - Dr. Ed Jonker (the Netherlands) - Peter Lee MA (UK) - Joke van der Leeuw-Roord (the Netherlands) - Prof. Dr. Susan Legêne (the Netherlands) - Prof. Dr. Uday Singh Mehta (USA) - Dr. Karen Offen (USA) - Prof. Dr. Andrea Petö (Hungary) - Dr. Kees Ribbens (the Netherlands) - Prof. Dr. Peter Seixas (Canada) - Prof. Dr. Peter Stearns (USA) - Prof. Dr. Alex van Stipriaan Luïscius (the Netherlands) - Prof. Dr. Siep Stuurman (the Netherlands) - Dr. Nicole Tutiaux-Guillon (France) - Prof. Dr. Berteke Waaldijk (the Netherlands)

A detailed conference programme is available at :


The number of tickets available is limited because of size limitations of our venues. Therefore we recommend that you make your registration as early as possible. If you wish to register for the conference, please download the registration form from and send your request by e-mail to : The cost of registration for the full two-day conference [including two lunches] will be 40 euro. Dinners and accommodation are not included. Details on the payment procedure will be posted on our website.

Contact (announcement)

Dr. Kees Ribbens
History Department - FHKW
Erasmus University Rotterdam
PO Box 1738
NL-3000 DR Rotterdam
+ 31 10 408 2516
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