Marnie Hughes-Warrington (ANU): Scaling the Ethics of History

This seminar introduces the idea that the variation in spatio- and temporal scales across histories is a matter of ethics, as well as of narrative and fact. It illuminates how Aristotle’s account of ethics as both imprecise and as explicable via ‘carpenter’s’ logic has enabled historians to shift scales, and explores how the case study of big histories and information ethics encourages us to expand the focus of historical ethics beyond the relationship of an historian with human historical agents. It argues for expanded understanding of ethics in professional codes of historical conduct to include large-scale and distributed phenomena, living and non-living entities, artificial agents, and Indigenous persons as the producers—not just the subjects—of histories. Conversely, it asks for a reduction in scale of formal ethics approvals processes for historians.

Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington (ANU) is the author of several historiography books, including Fifty Key Thinkers on History (3 editions), ‘How Good an Historian Shall I Be?’: R. G. Collingwood, the Historical Imagination and Education (2003), History Goes to the Movies (2007), and Revisionist Histories (2013). She has rewritten the history of histories around wonder (History as Wonder, 2018) and is currently writing a book on the scales of ethics in history (Big and Little Histories).

Date & time

Wed 21 Aug 2019, 4.15–5.30pm


McDonald Room, Menzies Library


Marnie Hughes Warrington (ANU)

Event series


School of History


School of History


Updated:  20 August 2019/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications