Associate professor Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen awarded historiography literature prize

Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen has been awarded the ICHTH Book Prize for The History and Theory of Historiography for his book Postnarrativist Philosophy of Historiography (Palgrave, 2015). Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen is an Associate Professor in the Centre for Philosophical Studies of History in the University of Oulu.

Seventeen submissions made the shortlist in the competition. The jury looked for theoretical and methodological novelty and other forms of originality. The jury also asked an external expert for a review of the last shortlist.

According to the jury, Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen combines in his book novel and agenda-setting claims with philosophical and historiographical analyses. The jury commended the book on its crystal clear style and discursiveness throughout. Kuukkanen takes his departure from narrativist philosophies as developed by Hayden White and Frank Ankersmit, and he then analyzes their positions, weighting their pros and cons in the light of recent philosophical and historiographical discussions. He argues that narrativism has made important contributions to the theory of historiography, but also that by now there are good grounds to move beyond it to postnarrativism. Kuukkanen shows how it is possible to reject truth-functional evaluation of interpretations and yet hold that historiography can be assessed by rational criteria – and thus avoids the pitfalls of fictionalism and postmodernism.

The jury believes that Kuukkanen's book will function as the point of departure for many future discussions in philosophy of historiography, because it provides in a masterful way a fundamental analysis of the questions and routes that have taken us to the present.

ICHTH (International Commission for the History and Theory of Historiography) is a nonprofit organization, which brings together scholars of history and theory of historiography.

Last updated: 18.1.2017