Jorma Kalela

Biography and/or project

Trained historians serve as cultural critics who are simultaneously consultants in history-making and referees in everyday history. This suggestion is the message of my recent Making History. The Historian and Uses of the Past. (Palgrave Macmillan 2012). The idea of the historians’ work is to connect the past matters studied with the present concerns of the people they are addressing in order to open up new perspectives on their world and to prompt them to ponder their own values. The ultimate goal is to bring about a virtual dialogue between the audience and the people studied.

Presently I am working on several smaller studies that develop the central idea of Making History from different angles. The contention shared by all of them is that ‘Why history?’ is a more fruitful question than the conventional ‘what is history?’