The Corpus Historicus Controversy

Linguistic purists may find the name of our conference a little off-putting. It should of course be inflected Corpus Historicum. However, let us explain our choice of such a name: the conference is the third instalment in the series of conferences conjoining history, historiography, social, literary and cultural matters – the first two were titled Cryptohistories (on secretive narratives in/of history and on the roles of conspiracy theories) and HistoRisus (on laughter in history and histories of laughter). Just like the name of the latter, so is Corpus Historicus an example of dog Latin, something that pretends to be very fancy but in fact has very common origins.

Corpus Historicus is layered with meanings: you can choose to read it as English words corpus, historic and us. In an instance of a serendipitous coincidence, the US part also points to the name of our University. Thus, our idea behind the name was, in a sense, to engage in a form of word play and also to play with the rhyming ring with which the phrase resounds. Moreover and most importantly however, the imperfectness of the name corresponds to the focus on the broadly understood body in/of history as also flawed and deficient in various ways, as well as to the element of marginality and unreliability, which, we hope, the delegates to the conference will address.

Admittedly, it’s not a great pun if we have to explain it, but we decided to embrace it – and we hope that you too will embrace US.