Presented by Dr Nicholas Heron (UQ)

Nicholas Heron is Research Fellow in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Queensland. He is the author of Liturgical Power: Between Economic and Political Theology (Fordham, 2018), and the translator of Giorgio Agamben’s Stasis: Civil War as a Political Paradigm (Stanford, 2015).

Abstract

This paper will offer a theoretical overview of a long-term research project that I am currently undertaking, which broadly pursues a history of the idea of the “end of history.” Long considered moribund, discussion of the end of history has made a stunning, if often confused return to contemporary public debate, which makes the reassessment of its legacy all the more pressing. The attempt to historicise an idea that in its many and varied articulations almost always couches itself as an interpretation of past thought – to cite the best-known current, the line that runs from Fukuyama via Kojève back to Hegel – nonetheless poses certain methodological challenges, not least concerning where to locate the inception of new iterations of this idea, whether in the writings of the interpreters and their relevant contexts or in those of the works interpreted and their relevant contexts. This paper will explore how the approach of Begriffsgeschichte to the history of political thought pioneered by the late German historian Reinhart Koselleck has helped to meet some of these challenges. But it will also ask in conclusion whether the history of the end of history concept in fact reveals certain limitations in the approach of Begriffsgeschichte itself, with specific reference to its core heuristic: that of the Sattelzeit, literally the “saddle time,” during which modern social and political concepts are understood to have assumed their current meanings.

About School Research Seminar Series

This series brings together the School’s research community and domestic as well as international leaders in the field of politics and international affairs. Across each semester, the series showcases a diverse and exciting range of topics. We welcome anyone who might be interested in attending.

All events held from 1-2.30pm in GPNorth (39a), room 537, except on 10 September, when it is 6-8pm at the Australian Institute of International Affairs, 300 Queen Street, Brisbane. First two seminars co-hosted by the Visual Politics Research Program. Fourth seminar co-hosted by the Australian Institute of International Affairs and the Australian Political Science Association.

For further inquiries contact Prof Roland Bleiker (bleiker@uq.edu.au). Photo credit: Peter Walters.

Please note that most of past research seminars are recorded and are available online. 

Venue

39A
Room: 
537