Organized by Laurent Olivier (Paris) and Marek Tamm (Tallinn)

There seems to be an increasing consensus among the scholars in social sciences and humanities that the past is no longer what it used to be, and neither is the academic study of the past. The present has ceased to be regarded as a transitional state from what has been to what has not yet been. The past and the future now exist as the present’s own immanent modes. This new situation, called a “presentist regime of historicity” (François Hartog), provides several challenges to the disciplines working on the matters of the past.

This interdisciplinary workshop, that brings together scholars in various disciplines, including anthropology, archaeology, cultural geography, history, literary studies and philosophy, is intended to discuss both the intellectual genealogies of the current epistemic situation and the future prospects of the historical disciplines in the age of presentism. We anticipate to explore what are the main epistemological consequences of the shifts in contemporary Western time regime and to discuss critically some of the traditional assumptions that underpin the historical research.

More specifically, the workshop is build around three key-themes:

1) evaluation of the impact of the “presentism” in different branches of the humanities and social sciences, especially in the so-called historical disciplines;

2) genealogical discussion of the contemporary Western time regime, of the roots of presentism in philosophy, arts and literature in the twentieth century;

3) reflections on the epistemological and methodological consequences of the presentism for historical disciplines.


9 December

10.00–10.20:   Vigdis Broch-Due, director of CAS: Welcome
                           Laurent Olivier and Marek Tamm: Introduction

10.20–11.00:   Hans Ruin: Historicity and the Production of a Present

11.00–11.40:   Marek Tamm: Crisis of Historicism, or the Emergence of a New Notion of Temporality in Early 20th Century

11.40–13.00: Lunch

13.00–13.40:   Helge Jordheim: Multiple Presents, Or What Does the -Ism in Presentism Mean?

13.40–14.20:   Zoltán Boldizsár Simon: The Transformation of Historical Time: From the Historical Process to the Temporality of the Event

14.20–14.40: Coffee

                         Chair: Laurent Olivier

14.40–15.20:   Shannon Lee Dawdy: A Manifesto for Slow Time

15.20–16.00:   Mats Burström: Estrangement Effects and Archaeological Interpretation

19.00–22.00: Dinner

10 December

                              Chair: Marek Tamm

10.00–10.40:   Chris Lorenz: Out of Time? Some Reflections on François Hartog’s ‘Presentism’

10.40–11.20:   Eelco Runia: Orthochronism

11.20–12.00:   Anne Fuchs: Time Works: Michael Wesely and the Aesthetic Experience of Simultaneity

12.00–13.00: Lunch (at CAS)

                        Chair: Laurent Olivier

13.00–13.40:   Caitlin DeSilvey: Rewilding Time: Strange Love and Other Animals

13.40–14.20:   Bjørnar Olsen: Scattered and Preserved: Memory and Archaeological Presences

14.20–14.40: Coffee

                        Chair: Marek Tamm

14.40–15.20:   Laurent Olivier: Archaeology at the Age of Presentism

15.20–16.00:   A concluding discussion

19.00–22.00:   Reception (Hotel Gabelshus, Gabels gate 16)

Participation by pre-registration, please contact Marek Tamm (

The workshop is part of the project “After Discourse: Things, Archaeology, and Heritage in the 21st Century”, lead by Bjørnar Olsen.