May 11, 2010

The Philosophy of History reading group is re-convening this term to explore theories of space. This new initiative is being run in the Birkbeck Department of History by Victoria Powell, Madisson Brown, and Neil Penlington.

There will be two more sessions this term, outlined below. As before, readings will be made available here, and all are welcome.

Future sessions:

Wed 2 June 2010: Lefebvre’s concept of space

Wed 30 June 2010: Bourdieu’s theory of social space

All sessions will be held in Room G24 at 6.30pm. This is a 100% student led initiative, so if you’d like to know more or make suggestions for the Autumn term programme, drop us an email and we’ll start to put together a schedule.



October 3, 2007

We return for another year of PhiloHist!

The First meeting will be on Friday October 12th at 5pm. We are now in a new location: Room 535 of the SSEES (School of Slavonic and East European Studies) building, 16 Taviton Street. When you enter the building, there is a lift on your left which takes you up to the 5th floor.

We will be discussing: Paul Ricoeur, The Reality of the Historical Past (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1984; 51pp)

As the piece discusses Hayden White at some length, new members may find it useful to have a look at the chapter by White that we read last year. See

I am taking over organization for this year, so if you have any queries about the group, if you’d like to join in, or if you have any suggestions for readings, please email me: s.pawley(at)



July 25, 2007

This is the online home of a reading group in the Philosophy of History, based at Birkbeck College, London.

We will be re-convening in the Autumn term of 2007 and will welcome new members, new suggestions for readings and new chair-people for our meetings.

For more information or requests please contact me on:


Guns, Germs and Steel

June 25, 2007

easterislandFor the final meeting of the year, we will be reading Jared Diamond’s controversial Guns, Germs and Steel, which can be found in most libraries and in cheap paperback. Please look at the introduction, “Yali’s Question” and also this review of the book from the NYRB by William McNeill which also includes Diamond’s response. If you have time, please also read the concluding chapter of the book as well as this article by JR McNeill in the History Co-operative Journal.

As usual we meet at 5pm on Friday, in room 261, Malet Street.


May 4, 2007


For the first meeting of term, on Friday 4th May, we will be reading Reinhart Koselleck: please look at both the first and the last chapters of his Futures Past (Columbia Univ. Press, 2004).

“Modernity and the Planes of Historicity” & “‘Space of Experience’ and ‘Horizon of Expectation’: Two Historical Categories”.

Summer Term Dates

April 17, 2007

As the days draw longer we re-group three more times during the summer term. All new participants are very welcome to join us (please contact me for more information) while the attention of regular members is drawn to the following three dates, which they should mark in their diaries:

Fridays; May 4th, June 8th, June 29th

As usual, tea and biscuits will be provided by Birkbeck School of History from 5pm in Room 261.

Topics this term will include a reading from Koselleck on temporality, a discussion of Prosopography, and finally the controversial Jared Diamond to end the year.


White Foucault

March 5, 2007

For the final meeting of term we will look at a piece by Hayden White on ‘narrativity’ alongside an essay by Foucault on Nietzsche, History and Genealogy. Both pieces relate and refer to other themes and thinkers we have looked at so far and I hope they will provide a suitable conclusion to this term.

As usual, Friday 23rd March, 5pm Birkbeck College, 261. Tea served.

Michel Foucault, “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History,” in The Foucault Reader, ed. Paul Rabinow (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1991).

Hayden White, “The Question of Narrative in Contemporary Historical Theory” in History and Theory 23.1 (1984): 1-33.

Stable URL:here