Dorthe Jørgensen: History as a Work

Dorthe Jørgensen
Dorthe Jørgensen.

Dorthe Jørgensen, Professor in Philosophy and the History of Ideas, Aarhus University, Denmark.

According to Aristotle, poetry is more philosophical than history. Poets give shape to their material. They produce literary works that create cohesion and meaning, whereas historians just retell what happened. So, if we want history to include more than empirical facts, we must let a work-productive formation be a key dimension of our historiography. Such formation draws history closer to philosophy; of the historian it requires philosophical thinking, and it helps the reader to think philosophically. But philosophy comes in various forms, one is imaginative, the other is not, and even the concept of the work has a history of its own. Therefore, the question is not only what it means to let history take shape as a work. The question is also what kind of philosophical thinking this formation requires, and what work-form is adequate today. (The keynote refers to Dorthe Jørgensen’s book Historien som værk: Værkets historie (History as a Work: The Work’s History), Aarhus University Press, 2006.)

Watch the keynote with Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal from June 16 here

Watch the opening ceremony and keynote with Gabriele Brandstetter from June 13 here.