Refreshments will be served from 6.15pm
The lecture beginning at 7pm
22 July 2014
What's past is prologue:
nostalgia and utopianism in New Zealand
Professor of History, AUT University
Associate Dean Research, Te Ara Poutama/Faculty of Maori Development
We like to think that history is built of the hard stuff of fact, yet so much of the way societies look at the past and anticipate the future is made of the much more malleable material of perception.
The way history is formulated in the imagination is so important because the appropriation of the resulting views of the past often help individuals and communities to rationalise the future.
Nostalgia plays a vital role in how the past is popularly seen and is a crucial part of history. It informs the way individuals and even societies conceptualise the importance of the past, and what parts of history they subsequently value (as well as what they dismiss). It has a strong bearing on notions of personal and national identity.
Utopianism is the other side of the coin of nostalgia. At first glance, it may appear to be focussing in the opposite direction – dispensing with a flawed past in favour of an idealised future – but on closer inspection, both concepts are inextricably linked in several ways.
What emerges from this survey of nostalgia and utopianism is rather than excluding them from formal historical analysis because of their fundamentally subjective nature, consideration of their roles can contribute to a deeper understanding of the intricately marbled nature of our history and the bases of our desire for the future.
Professor Moon's presentation is part of The Annual Vaughan Park Sir Paul Reeves Memorial Lecture Series. Previous speakers include Professor Sir Mason Durie (2012) and Professor Manuka Henare (2013)
THIS IS A FREE PUBLIC LECTURE