NEWS

Tobunken-Seminar "The Problem of Evidence in Historical Research"

【Date】 : Friday, 5th February, 2016,  11:30am ~1:00pm

【Venue】 : Conference Room 2, 3rd Floor, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia,, The University of Tokyo

【Title】 : The Problem of Evidence in Historical Research

【Speaker】 :
Ewa Domanska (Associate Professor, Department of History, Adam Mickiewicz University at Poznan, Poland)

【Chairperson】 : 竹村 英二(国士舘大学)

【Commentator】 : 佐藤 正幸(山梨県立大学)

【Language】 : English


【Summary】 

In this lecture I will discuss the relationship between historians’ understanding of basic concepts of historical research: evidence, source, fact and truth (as they are perceived in the Western tradition). Referring to works by R.G. Collingwood and Carlo Ginzburg, I will analyze the status of evidence in the construction of knowledge of the past that these scholars defined as unattainable, indirect, presumptive and conjectural. I will argue that within the framework of the current discussions about going beyond narrativism and constructivism in historical reflection, as well as in present interest in naturalization of the humanities, the concept of evidence might be used as a bridging term that connects humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. In this context, I will talk about evidence as a material object that might be analyzed by scientific tools and method and often is considered to be more reliable than a human witness. Since evidence is the basic term in forensic sciences, I would ask what might be the result of using inspirations coming from forensics for re-thinking this concept in historical reflection.