Dr Stephen Davies

For the enlightenment, advancement, and inspiration of its members


Proudly presents

With the kind permission of LearnLiberty.org (Institute for Humane Studies)

A filmed talk by Dr. Stephen Davies

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Visions of History:
Ways of Seeing the Past

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Map of the 1858 Atlantic Cable route

Map of the 1858 Atlantic Cable route

The way we think about and understand the past shapes the way we view both the present and the future – Orwell’s famous slogan from 1984 captures this:

“Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”

Most of us without realising it have a unique vision of the past, a way of thinking about it that predisposes us to look at current events in a particular way.

In general, we focus on power and its workings while overlooking other aspects of human existence such as voluntary exchange, cooperative interaction, innovation, and discovery.

Dr Davies offers these dates as examples of historic achievements of the above kind:

August 05 1858
December 12 1901
August 12 1908
August 15 1914
April 26 1956
May 05 1960
January 22 1970
December 25 1990
June 21 2004

SpaceShipOne becomes the first privately financed craft to leave Earth’s atmosphere and reach the edge of space.

When the sorts of achievements that occur on these dates are brought to the foreground, a different kind of historical narrative emerges and transforms our ideas of important dates and significant figures in history.

Dr. Stephen Davies is education director at the Institute of Economic Affairs in London and program officer at the Institute for Humane Studies. Previously, Dr. Davies was a senior lecturer in the Department of History and Economic History at Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester, England. He has also been a visiting scholar at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center at Bowling Green State University, Ohio. A historian, he graduated from St. Andrews University in Scotland in 1976 and gained his PhD from the same institution in 1984. He has authored several books, including Empiricism and History, and was co-editor with Nigel Ashford of The Dictionary of Conservative and Libertarian Thought.

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Date: Monday April 16 & April 30 2012

Venue: Home of Prodos & Barboo, 153 Lennox Street, Richmond. Phone: 9428 1234.

6.30 PM: Doors Open.

Meals (all at cost price) served between 6.30 PM and 7.15 PM

  • Lemon Pepper Atlantic Salmon: $12
  • Crumbed Lamb Cutlets: $12

7.30 PM (sharp): Commencement of Film + Chaired discussion.

Who: Only registered PRODOS Film Study Group members and guests of members allowed. You can apply to join on the night. To join you need to agree with our purpose and pay the $2 annual fee.

Policy: Leaving straight after a film and therefore skipping the discussion goes against one of the conditions upon which our permission to screen these films is based.

9.30 PM: End of meeting.

Cost: No charge. But if you’d like to make a personal donation to Prodos that’s greatly appreciated. Thanks.


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