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Meeting RNW Theory of History – Lecture Rik Peters: ‘Learning Histories: A Radical Form of Applied History’ – 8 March 2024

Date and time: Friday 8 March 2024, 15:00-17:00 (followed by drinks)

Speaker: Rik Peters (RUG)

Location: Utrecht University, Kromme Nieuwegracht 80, 1.06 (Van Ravesteynzaal)


Learning Histories: A Radical Form of Applied History’

Recently, cultural change has been propagated as a remedy for all kinds of wicked problems both in profit and non-profit organizations. The concept of culture, however, remains essentially contested; what is meant by organizational culture and how can organizations change it? In this paper, I will answer these questions on the basis of the theory and method of learning histories that I have developed in the past twenty years at the Department of History in Groningen. Starting from the method developed in my book Learning Histories (2024), I will discuss the theoretical underpinnings from Giambattista Vico to Collingwood, Gadamer, Ankersmit and Luhmann. Focussing on the synthesis of hermeneutics, narrativism and functional analysis to show how historians can contribute to ‘actionable knowledge’ for changing organisational culture.

Rik Peters is associate professor of history at the University of Groningen, where he teaches modern history, historical theory, and learning histories. His book Learning Histories: Vat krijgen op je organisatiecultuur will appear later this year. Earlier publications include his book History as Thought and Action: The Philosophies of Croce, Gentile, de Ruggiero and Collingwood (2011).