Filosoof Roman Krznaric
Filosoof Roman Krznaric

History for Tomorrow. Inspiration from the Past for the Future of Humanity

Wednesday 18 September 2024, 8 pm - 9:30 pm
Radboud Reflects and Publisher Ten Have

Venue: LUX, Nijmegen

How to stay hopeful in uncertain times? We’re facing increasing inequality, ecological collapse, the rise of artificial intelligence, and distrust in democracies. Despite this, Australian philosopher Roman Krznaric offers a message of radical hope in his latest book History for Tomorrow. Inspiration from the Past for the Future of Humanity. Radical hope is about living as if change is possible, even if it’s unlikely. Throughout history, societies have risen up against the odds to overcome crises and combat injustices. But how exactly can history inspire us to maintain radical hope in today’s world? Come and listen to philosopher Roman Krznaric discuss how and where we should look in our history books.

Reasons for hope from history

The past is full of lessons for tackling present and future problems, argues Roman Krznaric. But we often miss them. In History for Tomorrow, Krznaric takes inspiration from the last 1,000 years of world history to confront the most urgent challenges of the twenty-first century. What can the history of slave revolts teach us about the power of rebellion to tackle the climate crisis? How might the printing revolution spark ideas for taming the polarisations created by social media? What could we learn from eighteenth century Japan for creating regenerative economies today, or from the Renaissance for redesigning democracy? 

Interpreting the past

Our history unveils worlds very different from our own, challenging our perceptions of what is normal. Delving into the past trains our imagination muscles. Still, can historical examples truly guide us in solving global issues? How should we apply insights from the past in the present? Aren’t past societies too different from today’s world to provide meaningful insights? Moreover, our history seems to present just as many reasons for pessimism about the future. Why should we place our faith in the past at all, rather than in technology, for instance? After his talk, Roman Krznaric will engage in a conversation with historian Adriaan Duiveman and culture scholar Charley Boerman about the values and limits of history lessons.

This programme is in English.

About the speakers

Roman Krznaric is a social philosopher who writes about the power of ideas to create change. His work has been translated into 25 languages and includes several international bestsellers, such as Empathy, The Wonder Box and The Good Ancestor. Krnzaric works at Oxford University and is founder of the world's first Empathy Museum.

Watch the video of a previous Radboud Reflects Lecture by Roman Krznaric in 2017: 
Carpe Diem | Radboud Reflects Lecture by philosopher Roman Krznaric (2017)

Adriaan Duiveman is a historian. Currently a postdoc at KU Leuven, Duiveman researches how historical water narratives in The Netherlands are reflected in our current climate debate.

Charley Boerman is a culture scholar at Radboud University. She conducts PhD research on visual and material cultures of memory of historical famines, including the nineteenth-century Finnish famines and the Ukrainian Holodomor.


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Wednesday 18 September 2024, 8 pm - 9:30 pm
Radboud Reflects