The first open international conference of HEX will be held on 4–5 March 2019 in Tampere, Finland. The theme of the conference is History of Experience: Theories, Methodologies, and Concepts. Our keynote speakers are Professor Laura Lee Downs (European University Institute, Florence) and Professor Jan Plamper (Goldsmiths, University of London).

Please use hashtag #HEXconference2019!

The concept of experience has played a major role in many classic works of history, as those of R.G. Collingwood and E.P. Thompson. Studying the experiences of people whose voice was often silenced became an empowering element in the new social history and in the history from below. This enterprise became heavily criticized in the post-structuralist thinking. Experience as simple or essentialist evidence in explaining history was challenged by many influential historians like Joan W. Scott. In Germany, on the other hand, the history of experiences (Erfahrungsgeschichte) answered the challenge of the cultural turn by taking Peter Berger’s and Thomas Luckmann’s sociology of knowledge (1966) as its point of departure in explaining experiences as social and linguistic constructions. Lately, studies in the history of emotions have made important contributions to enrich historical scholarship, mostly in a constructionist fashion.

The Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences (HEX), hosted by Tampere University, is seeking new ways to study experiences and their role in explaining history. HEX studies experiences as lived realities and focuses on three wide-ranging cultural and societal phenomena: lived religion, lived nation, and lived welfare state. HEX covers a great variety of historical approaches, both old and new, in studying experiences as a crucial element of social reality including structures, agency, identities, and emotions. We ask how people make their lives – and their society and history – through experiences. We are seeking for new insights and methodologies to the past. We are open to all ideas from all disciplines which enrich historical analysis of experience – and we aim to show how the history of experiences can also contribute to other disciplines.