I H/Story Conference
Cryptohistory / Kryptohistoria
Institute of English Cultures and Literatures
University of Silesia in Katowice
22nd-23rd November, 2013
Sosnowiec, Poland

With the 50th anniversary of one of the arguably most mysterious and speculation-provoking moments in history, the death of JFK, as inspiration, the conference intends to be a meeting ground for discussions of cryptic discourses in history and historical narratives converging on the mysterious. It is perhaps no exaggeration to suppose that one of the vital factors underlying the earliest interests in history and its rise as a science may be related to the sense of mystery associated with the past. It appears, moreover, that in an era of an increased socio-cultural demand for various conspiracy theories and alternative histories, the narratives of the past focusing on its cryptic aspects deserve particular and thorough examination. Equally important seem to be the mechanics of their rise in history and their narrative strategies. We, therefore, invite papers that will engage in disputes centring on the issues of secrets, mysteries and enigmas in narrative and theoretical discourses of history. Specific themes to be discussed in twenty-minute long presentations (in Polish or English) may include the following (the list is by no means exhaustive):

  • history of secrets / secret history;
  • cryptic discourses and their cultural encoding and decoding;
  • secretive narratives and narrating mysteries in history;
  • controversies in history and histories of controversies
  • urban legends and the rise of contemporary myths;
  • mythicised pasts and processes of mythicisation of the past;
  • histories and theories of chance;
  • cryptography, codes, ciphering and deciphering in history;
  • cryptic history theorized: theoretical study of secretive discourses;
  • gossip, accusations, forgeries, tales vs. chronicles, historiographies;
  • historiographic metafictions vs. historical novel/narrative;
  • habitual liars, unreliable narrators and con artists;
  • cryptic people, societies, buildings and objects;
  • pseudo/meta/micro/his/her-story(ies);
  • historical revisionism and alternative history;
  • history as a camouflage.

The Cryptohistory / Kryptohistoria conference plan contains three plenary lectures: one in English and two in Polish. The introductory lecture entitled, Kings don’t die in traffic accidents, will be given by Marcin Sarnek, Ph.D.

On the second day of the conference two plenary lectures are scheduled. The first one will be given in Polish by Professor Tomasz Wiślicz. Its title is Niedohistorie, czyli dlaczego pewne opowieści o przeszłości nie stają się historiami.

The third plenary lecture, Co się stało z Olafem Tryggvasonem po bitwie w Oresundzie czyli (krypto)historia pewnej pogłoski, will be given by Jakub Morawiec, Ph.D.

All the plenary lectures abstracts are available here.

Conference programme and the book of abstracts available here.