Often, the “collective” is used loosely to refer to any social grouping, synonymous with a number of other terms (social, shared, communal, joint, national, etc), or it is avoided altogether in order not to presume any collective mind or monolithic identity. Historians’ suspicions towards collective experiences are well-founded: when looked at through intersectional lenses – class, age, gender, disability, ethnicity, etc. – seemingly collective experiences are usually diverse. Yet while hardly any historian assumes that a nation or a people experience events uniformly, it is still commonplace to use a shorthand, such as “Finnish” or “imperial” experience. What can historians learn from the social and behavioral sciences in thinking about collective experiences and emotions? And what is the historian’s contribution to the study of collective experiences?
To answer these and other related questions, the conference will be an opportunity to develop collective experiences as a concept for historical analysis and explanation. Professor Piroska Nagy (Université du Québec à Montréal), Professor Mikko Salmela (University of Copenhagen) and Professor Maarten Van Ginderachter (University of Antwerp), will provide wide-ranging intellectual keynote lectures to stimulate our consideration of collective experiences in history.
The HEX Conference preliminary programme is now published and the registration is open. From the renewed conference website you may find also information on previous HEX Conferences.