If this object is as fluid as appears from the two volumes—not only with respect to the different events that trigger fear, the different uses it was put to, and the politics it allowed, but as a felt emotion—this calls for further investigation notably into the words and concepts used to make sense of the experience.
By Kojin Karatani. Translated by Michael Bourdaghs. The decision to shift to modes of exchange means rooting the primary mode of exchange taking place first in nomadic societies, rather than forms of production and archaic communal ownership of land. Although his revised scheme still accords priority to the economic, the putative division between base and superstructures still persists, even though the latter are still produced by the former, which is now the mode of exchange.
The point to this project is to transcend the hegemonic trinity of capital, nation, and state and satisfy a desire to share with other globalists a vision that aims to overcome the defects of capitalism and the nation-state and the failure of a Marxian expectation that nation-states will simply wither away with the final surpassing of capitalism. Zukunft der Geschichte: Geschichtsphilosophie und Zukunftsethik. Berlin: Akademie Verlag, Philosophy of history has a threefold dimension: material, formal, and functional, which have largely been conceptualized as mutually exclusive.
The book is divided into three parts: the first deals with the relationship between history and the future, the second analyzes the relationship between history and ethics, and the third synthesizes these two aspects into a pragmatics of history. With regard to the first part, historical thinking is based on a perception of temporal otherness related to the past. Rohbeck prolongs the time perspective by bridging this time gap into the future. As to the second, Rohbeck replaces teleology by ethics. Teleology includes ethics but limits its scope to a one-sided development.
Ethics allows many more options. Finally, who is the agent for historical ethics? At the end of his work, Rohbeck draws consequences for the idea of philosophy of history from his idea of historical ethics. He shows that history has a new perspective if it is viewed through the lens of ethical elements in the fundamental relationship between past, present, and future.
Of course, many questions follow this fascinating new version of the old philosophy of history. I raise only three of them: 1 What synthesizes the three dimensions of time into one and the same history? This argument does not run against the idea of an ethics of history, but should sharpen its genuine historical character. An anonymous sum of generations in space and time is not a convincing answer. We need an integrative idea that covers the vast field of experience of the human world in space and time and that covers the strong commitment to universal values.
In this respect it would be worthwhile to pick up the idea of humankind as it was conceptualized as the red thread of history in traditional, modern philosophy of history. By Rik Peters. Exeter, UK: Imprint Academic, It is argued that although this book will be of interest to any scholar interested in Croce, Gentile, or de Ruggiero, it will be of particular interest to those interested in R. This is a subject that has not previously been investigated in any depth. Global Intellectual History. Edited by Samuel Moyn and Andrew Sartori.
New York: Columbia University Press, However, there is no consensus on what the contours of the subject are, or what the appropriate research methods for it might be. Further, there are quite a few skeptics among historians with regard to this trend. A greater attention to the centuries between and , when a polycentric global regime of knowledge however tenuous it proved was established, would have been particularly helpful. By Kris Manjapra. This raises a number of theoretical issues requiring further debate.
This essay focuses on untranslatability to discuss the diachronic temporality of the history of concepts. Addressing first the critical appraisal of the history of ideas by Quentin Skinner and J. It suggests that Koselleck not only states that translation mediates the history of concepts, but also envisions a distinct temporality associated with the aporetic condition of translating what is untranslatable. The aporia of translations underlies both the historical depth of concepts as a conceptual reserve and an act of silencing past meaning.
These two characteristics of obscure time, its receding and suspending nature, not only stand against the continuity of periodizing; they also make visible a politics of translation as an act of disruption of the present wherein the past becomes a reserve of meanings resisting appropriative interpretation. This article argues that the academic representation of Islamic history as a single timeline, which was established in the nineteenth century and continues to predominate to the present, is a primary issue restricting fruitful readings of Islamic historical materials.
Utilizing insights in thinking about history that favor multiple temporalities, I suggest that scholars in Islamic studies can expand the possibilities of their work by paying attention to the diversity of ways in which time is conceptualized within original materials. As illustrations for the rethinking I advocate, I provide readings of the structures and literary affects of three Persian works in different genres, produced circa — ce. I suggest that a foundational reorientation in the field of Islamic historiography has the potential to help us break out of binds identified in the critique of orientalism provided by Edward Said and others and would lead to better ways to approach developments in Muslim societies.
This article is an attempt to address on a theoretical level an antinomy in postcolonial approaches to the question of temporal difference. Current scholarship tends both to denounce the way in which the others of the Western self are placed notionally in another time than the West and not only analytically affirm but indeed valorize multiple temporalities.
I elaborate on the two problematic temporal frameworks—linear developmentalism and cultural relativism—that belong to a colonial legacy and generate the antinomy in question, and then proceed to discuss possible alternatives provided by a Koselleck-inspired approach to historical time as inherently plural. This paper looks at interconnections between social, scientific, and technical time over the period since the Enlightenment.
The underlying argument is that each of these can be woven into a single narrative of our experience and description of time over that period. In particular, I maintain that the synchronization of social and natural time into ever smaller, interchangeable units has culminated today in the evacuation of the narrative of progress in favor of an ideology of the eternal present.
Contra technologically determinist characterizations that claim a fundamental historical disjuncture occurring with the development of computers, I claim that this timeless present has historical roots going back to the origin of industrial societies through the age of Victorian certainty to our current epoch. The multiple times described here are argued to be telling a single story. The assertion here is that our experiences and perceptions of time are deeply imbricated in our information infrastructures.
I further argue that these ideological charged times are not hegemonic; they merely describe a motivating managerial vision of a proximate future. Finally, the paper discusses the consequences of the increasing employment of concepts of embodied time for the future development of the historical sciences. Futurity demonstrates how various narratives imagine a future liberated from denial, guilt, and thus traumatic repetition. He covers two generations of German-language novels spanning the Adenauer era to the present, and two generations of Israeli writers reflecting on and later, In order to develop fully the concept of futurity he also writes on recent American and English novels, often with implicitly political themes.
The book succeeds in demonstrating the value of how various novelists read the past otherwise in order to reconstruct the present and future. Chris Lorenz and Berber Bevernage. This is an exceptionally sophisticated and wide-ranging book on historical time, the construction of the past, present, and future, and the problem of periodization. Its major thesis is that temporal divisions of history are produced by social actors, including historians, who break up time from their distinct temporal positions.
The book inquires about the theoretical underpinning and historical constitution of temporal breaks: the premises sustaining notions of pastness, presentness, and futurity; the relations constructed by these notions between historiography and other fields of knowledge; the specific articulation of shifting and mutually competing temporalities both within and beyond European history; and the political implications of temporal divisions. Throughout the book the breaking up of time is studied as a fundamental political operation.
But it also suggests that this imposition gave rise to acts of resistance indicating how historical time defies the analytical categories through which social actors seek to organize and control it. This dialectic of imposition and defiance is made evident through the comparative study of temporal concepts that replace one another, compete with one another in certain historical settings without any of them constituting a final historical representation.
Introduction and transcription by Anthony T. Grafton and Urs B. Leu, provides access to a primary source that is unique from the point of view of the history of science and scholarship and of the book and reading. My reading of their edition is based on three points.
First, I put the primary source of their choice in a context that includes provincial early modern educational centers as I believe that their enterprise could clear the way for future narratives on forgotten scholars who dealt with the issues of technical chronology. Third, I argue that the seemingly conservative decision to publish a paper edition of an annotated volume at the moment when state-of-the-art digital tools for such editions are being tailored through the alliance of scholars and IT specialists should open a discussion among historians of the book and reading, science, and education that would lead to the determination of standards for scholarly editions of libri annotati.
History and Theory 53, no. The telos, that is, the vantage point from which the past is envisaged, influences the selection of the material as well as its arrangement. Although the telos is past for historians and readers, it is future for historical agents. The past is present in customs, relics, and rituals, but the historiographical construction of the past is predicated on a complex hermeneutical operation that involves the choice of a telos.
In recent years the trend toward comparative histories, frequently read in terms of transnational studies, has produced some remarkably exciting work. The prospect of the comparative is gaining broader appeal, a development we should applaud but at the same time begin to examine in a critical fashion. This essay lays out some of the problems involved in comparative work and suggests ways in which we might profitably utilize these potential snares in productive ways.
In this respect, it encourages original and innovative ways of approaching historical work. But there are lessons to be learned and problems to be faced in managing a complex scholarly enterprise of this kind. Comparative work runs the risk of reproducing and consolidating older models of universalist history that assume universal standards.
It further runs the risk of assuming rather than historicizing the idea of the nation as a fixed point of historical reference rather than seeing the nation itself as a site for historical scrutiny. In this paper, my goal is to lay out these problems alongside the palpable rewards of comparative work, and then to suggest how we might turn such problems to our advantage. Different scholarly personae are characterized by different constellations of virtues and skills or, more precisely, by different constellations of commitments to goods epistemic, moral, political, and so forth , the pursuit of which requires the exercise of certain virtues and skills.
Finally, the article claims that virtues and skills, in turn, are rooted in desires, which are shaped by the examples of others as well as by promises of reward. I also suggest that this view of persons allows us to outline a promising account of the notion of human freedom, couched in terms of historical social agency. One fundamental reason for this is that the transformation has not been a consistent process deriving from one single source, but is rather the result of converging developments emanating from three different sources the Cambridge School, the German school of conceptual history or Begriffsgeschichte , and French politico-conceptual history.
This article proposes that the development of a new theoretical horizon that effectively leads us beyond the frameworks of the old history of political ideas demands that we overcome the insularity of these traditions and combine their respective contributions. The result of this combination is an approach to politico-intellectual history that is not completely coincident with any of the three schools. What I will call a history of political languages entails a specific perspective on the temporality of discourses; this involves a view of why the meaning of concepts changes over time, and is the source of the contingency that stains political languages.
By Alon Confino. Alon Confino has issued a desideratum to other historians that they should bring questions and insights from cultural history to bear on the study of the Holocaust. This essay argues that we cannot make sense of why Germans supported and carried out the Holocaust without also considering Jewish contemporaneous perspectives and imaginings. Genealogy as Critique: Foucault and the Problems of Modernity.
By Colin Koopman. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, First, there is the idea that the situation whose emergence a genealogy traces is problematic in the sense of being fraught or dangerous. Second, by tracing the genealogy, Foucault problematizes the situation itself, showing how it calls for attention. I argue that there are several reasons to think that the strong separation between genealogy and normative posited by Koopman may be too strict.
Writing History in the Age of Biomedicine. By Roger Cooter with Claudia Stein. Roger Cooter is concerned about the survival of historiography under the pressures of neoliberal economics and the entertainment industry. Cooter emphasizes the importance of self-reflection and political contextualization of all knowledge-production. However, although reflection is undoubtedly a virtue, it is not clear whether historiography is under such a severe threat.
It is also necessary to ask where the limits of contextualization lie. In addition, one should avoid combining antirealism about natural sciences in the name of anti-Whiggism with realism about historical knowledge in attempts to provide contextualized accounts of the past. What is needed above all is the hermeneutical dialogue between the language of past agents and the language of present actors. Dordrecht: Springer, Although the Kelsen—Voegelin exchange ended in failure and bitterness, its substance goes to the heart of modern intellectual history.
By Richard Evans. Waltham, MA: Brandeis University, His overall assessment of the field is quite skeptical, however. Evans cites many reasons for his skepticism, but his overall critique can be summarized in three words: plausibility, politicization , and popularity. Evans faults works of counterfactual history for their frequently implausible narratives, their promotion of political agendas, and their distressing degree of popularity. In advancing his critique, Evans makes many valid observations that call attention to important deficiencies in the field.
But his view is a partial one that neglects countervailing evidence and never penetrates to the heart of why the field has left the margins for the mainstream. Every act of remembering inscribes an individual in multiple social frames. This polyphony entails the simultaneous existence of concurrent interpretations of the past. In a diachronic perspective, memory is entangled in the dynamic relation between single acts of remembering and changing mnemonic patterns.
Memory scholars therefore uncover boundless cross-referential configurations. Current debates on European memory permit us to explore the possible benefits that the concept of entangled memory carries for memory studies. The article argues that the problem of the unity of history—though often neglected as a matter of mere argumentative infrastructure—is central to a number of wider problems, most prominently the possibility of a plural understanding of historicity and the possibility of ultimately avoiding a unified historical teleology.
This article considers A. Although Muslim kingship has tended to be presented as an essentially secular institution, Moin is able to show how deeply divine images and understandings shaped kingship in both the Safavid and Mughal empires, which were bound together by mutual influence and competition. The divine matrix of kingship was facilitated by the influence of preeminent Sufism, Mongol universalism, millenarian technologies and dreams, and Persian tradition. The subject matter is further placed within an overarching conceptualization of global religious diversity based on the tension between transcendentalist vs.
Among most historians of Africa, and others in the humanities concerned with Africa, it has been almost axiomatic that writing and reading arrived in Africa and spread with the coming of European colonialism, especially through the agency of Christian missionaries. Although missionaries did indeed establish schools and introduce various kinds of literacy, there is a much longer history of the book in various parts of the continent. This essay looks at some of the recent work that focuses on the use of the Arabic script in Africa.
The works discussed are rich in content and analysis and provide the opening for new initiatives on the content of the literacy and the methods of teaching and reading, but also the materiality of the book and the formation of the archive. This essay reviews two books in the French Que Sais-je? There is general agreement among historians that a fundamental reorientation has taken place in historical thought and writing in the past half century, about which quite a bit has been written in recent years in the West, including in Latin America, East Asia, and India.
But this is not the theme of either of these volumes. Carbonell tells the history of history from the ancient Greeks to the twentieth-century Annales ; Offenstadt is not interested in examining major trends in historiography as much of the historiographical literature has done, but in analyzing the changes that the key concepts that guide contemporary historical studies have undergone. He deals specifically with changes in conceptions of historical time, of the role of documents, of the place of history within the social sciences, of the centrality of narrative, and finally of historical memory.
Continuing debates over the role of interpretation in history and social science have recently been linked to a program to develop a cultural sociology, as distinct from a sociology of culture. Unfortunately, the book is beset by numerous theoretical problems, including a problematical understanding of the relations of fact and theory, hasty criticisms of examples of the different modes, and a reliance on metaphors that makes it impossible to do justice to the issues. Gradual changes in the way historians select, interpret, and represent aspects of the past are related to equally or perhaps more gradual changes in museum practice.
Edited collections on this subject reflect the state of both disciplines and offer an opportunity to evaluate trends, assess progress, and forecast the future. The collection examined in this review essay focuses on the idea of sharing historical authority: How far have we come? What methods have been used? What is the value of collaborative effort? Other focal points include: the interrogative mood of the text and its call for active reading; explicit historical, social, and disciplinary contexts; and precursor texts that have addressed similar subject matter.
History and Theory 52, no. This article takes as its point of departure a small piece of evidence: a single-line entry in a seventeenth-century Essex Sessions Roll about the theft of milk. This fragment of the legal archive and the world it offers us a glimpse of are used to explore what it might mean to take seriously the presence of animals as historical actors. The article also—and inseparably—asks us to think about the nature of that being called the human that so frequently goes without comment in historical as in other humanities scholarship. Using work from historiography, sensory history, social history, anthropology, and contemporary animal science, the article proposes that introducing animals as actors and not just as objects into historical work will not only broaden and deepen what we might know about the past, it will also challenge some assumptions as to what the focus of our discipline might be.
This methodological shift has led to animals being credited with much more agency than is warranted. On the other hand, the very notion of agency still conveys its classic understanding as intentional, rational, and premeditated, and is still embedded in humanist and Christian conceptions of human exceptionalism. This paper seeks, in the first part, to investigate the practical link between these two notions and the problems they raise.
We will then explore some of the concrete situations in which these agencements are manifested, and through which creatures of different species become, one for another and one with another, companion-agents. This article surveys recent historical writings on animals. Its principal concerns are the manner in which historians grant agency to animals and how that agency functions in historical narration. The article examines the histories of animals in Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and North America in order to tease out the similarities and differences of human experiences with other animals.
The foundational premise of the article is that humans are animals, sometimes even a meaty prey species, and that, as such, they are not external to nature or, ultimately, different from other animals in this regard. Humans can have violently intimate relationships with other creatures, an intimacy that defines much of global human history. Animals permeate our history and we theirs: tug at the threads and our stories, woven as they are into the same tightly knit tapestry, will not disentwine.
The debate regarding whether humans are anomalous and outside nature or separate from other animals is complicated when the stomach enzymes from an animal, whether wolf or crocodile, digest a human being. Portraits of apes are striking instances of such individuality, captured by photography, as is art produced by particular animals.
Methodologically, this leads also to the collection of anecdotes and a focus on animal biographies. The eighteenth-century controversy between Buffon and Condillac helps us understand what is at stake in the tension between species and individuals. Finally, a focus on individuals is not only a way to renew or extend historical methods. Biologists are also increasingly concerned with individuals. They question standard norms of behavior and preferences. This emphasis on animal individuality has not only theoretical but also ethical and legal consequences.
This essay explores a nineteenth-century debate over the linguistic capacity of animals in order to consider the links among language, reason, and history. Taking the American animal-protection movement as a point of departure, I show how protectionists, linguists, anthropologists, and advocates of deaf education were divided about the origins and nature of language. Was language a product of the soul and thus unique to humans, or was it a function of the body, a complex form of the corporeal expressions that humans and animals shared?
Was language divine or natural? The answers that different activists and intellectuals gave to such questions shaped their view of the relationship of humans to animals and the inclusion of the latter in the moral and political community. I suggest that such debates are helpful to historians since the possession of language—and its traces in the written word—has traditionally been used to divide prehistory and natural history from history proper. This article explores how far animals are or are not endowed with a sense of history.
In turn, there have been longer-term shifts since ancient and medieval times. To comprehend why this is so, both the lions and humans need to be seen as products of history. Over a half-century since hunting ceased, living on a mix of domestic livestock and wild prey, they now co-inhabit not only the forest but a much larger territory in close proximity to resident people. Their case calls for rethinking both animal and human histories to allow for associate species that adapt to human presence, and are capable of memory.
Drawing on posthumanist theories from geography, anthropology, and science and technology studies STS , this article argues that agency is shared unevenly between humans and nonhumans. It proposes that conceptualizing animals as agents allows them to enter history as active beings rather than static objects. But many historians treat agency as a uniquely human attribute, arguing that animals lack the cognitive abilities, self-awareness, and intentionality to be agents.
This article argues that human levels of intentionality are not a precondition of agency. Furthermore, it draws on research into canine psychology to propose that dogs display some degree of intentionality and self-directed action. The aim is not to turn dogs, or any other animals, into human-style agents nor to suggest that they display the same levels of skill, intentionality, and intelligence as humans.
Instead, the objective is to show how dogs are purposeful and capable agents in their own way and to explore how they interact with human agents. Historians need to understand the nature of historical agency and how animals relate to this central if contested historiographical concern. Focusing on the specific context of the Napoleonic Wars and in particular the Duke of Wellington and his horse Copenhagen, I show why agency is a continuum, not limited to the complex and intentional acts of a rational man, for instance a field marshal, but extending to basic actions, group actions, and less self-conscious actors, for instance a horse.
Therefore, agency can include animals. And I develop the idea of special associations—what I call unities —in which especially close, disciplined actors are produced, such as the skilled horse-and-rider of the nineteenth century. Ultimately, historical agency is likely always to involve human beings, but there is also space for animals to act with people. Following a survey of the historical trajectories of the field, a review of impulses from different disciplines, and a sketch of general developments over the last few decades, the editors exemplify key approaches, methods, and conceptual advances with reference to gender studies.
The focus then turns to the structure, main themes, and specific contents of this collection, which features both case studies and theoretical reflections. This essay focuses on the public debate in which the volunteers overcame their critics to understand how they obtained sufficient popular consent for their martial work. I explain the process in terms of shifting hegemonic understandings of space. To redefine the meaning of these gendered wartime spaces, women volunteers deployed rival spatial discourses and practices in their campaign for martial employment.
The essay explores the progress of these competing definitions through feminist and spatial theories, including gender performativity, discursively constructed and constructive spaces, and heterotopias. Heterotopic sites offered ideal discursive locations for constructing the new gender role of auxiliary soldiering through the performance of martial training and work, and competing spatial definitions provided arguments through which they could justify their activities to both critics and supporters.
Much has been written about the history of the work of men and women in the premodern past. Household work strategies, out of necessity, were diverse. Yet what this spatial complexity meant in particular households on a day-to-day basis and its consequences for gender relationships is less clear and has received relatively little historical attention. Understanding of the dynamic, complex, uneven purchase of patriarchy upon the organization, imagination, and experience of space has important implications for approaches to gender relations in early modern England.
This article considers the importance of a spatial dimension for witchcraft research, which has so far been largely neglected. In twentieth-century Europe people in certain regions still considered their world in terms of witchcraft; they attributed misfortune to bewitchments and usually blamed their neighbors. Here a part of Flemish-speaking Belgium is investigated with the help of legend texts collected in the s. The witchcraft discourse that informed these texts did not just contain formulations of space; sometimes it also determined how people negotiated space.
In this part of Flanders, witchcraft was embedded in Roman Catholicism; monasteries were the favored destinations of all those who considered themselves or their family members bewitched. In order to find cures for bewitchments people undertook hazardous journeys of considerable distance and found their efforts hindered by the witch they sought to counteract. The measures against evil influences that they were given were meant to consolidate the boundaries between their own private space and the outside space where witches roamed.
Bewitchments were generally blamed on women. This suggests a different approach to female space based on notions of proximity. I argue that some of these concepts and interpretive moves are problematic and rather than aiding in our understanding, raise further questions in their turn about how buildings were lived in and understood by their medieval inhabitants. Such a shift from meaning to lived experience raises fresh challenges for the development and empirical evaluation of interdisciplinary research on medieval buildings, but it also raises fresh possibilities and insights.
It is hard to know if the attention has been warranted. A confusion of terms has been used—such as space, place, spatiality, location—and each has signified a cluster of often contradictory and confusing meanings. This phenomenon is common to a range of disciplines in the humanities. This means, first, that it is not always easy to recognize what if anything is being discussed under the rubric of space, and second, that over-extended uses of the cultural turn have stymied meaningful engagement with or even a language of materiality in discussions of space.
This article shows how materiality has been marginalized both by a casual vocabulary and a vigorous a priori epistemological holism on the part of scholars, and how the spatial turn has been too closely linked to the cultural turn to allow it to develop its fullest explanatory potential. It demonstrates how historians might profitably theorize the significance of place and space in their work borrowing techniques from geographers and anthropologists, and referring to the phenomenological tradition , and sets out some challenges for using space more effectively in explanatory systems.
Inspired by environmental history, sociology, and science and technology studies, I propose a way of establishing space as different from conventional historical handling of materiality, and end by identifying some methodological problems that need to be solved if we are to proceed on a surer footing. The debates around the spatial turn nevertheless provide the opportunity for deliberate reconceptualization.
The recent death of Eric Hobsbawm provides a fitting occasion to take stock of the entire trajectory of his work. It divides his career into three main phases: 1 during the s and 50s when he served his apprenticeship and emerged as a leading labor historian of modern Britain.
Download pdf. Becoming an entrepreneur in Portugal: the role of resources and social networks. Cyclical history theory in data visualization - Using a four-quadrant display to see history repeating itself. The gradual replacement of the barbarian with the totalitarian paradigm reflects an evolution in the concept of revolution towards the Fordist World State of Brave new world This article highlights the most prominent attributes of two important philosophical theories applicable to the study of corruption, namely utilitarianism a variant of consequentialism and deontology. As Struever has pointed out, the rhetorical discipline of topic is rooted in a civil discourse, beginning as it does in "reputable opinion. The guest editors dedicate this special volume of Life to the memory of Prof.
No longer just one among a group of Marxist scholars, he—along with E. Thompson—became one of the most famous and influential historians in the world. This book examines Greek engagements with the past as articulations of memory formulated against the contingency of chance associated with temporality. Based on a phenomenological understanding of temporality, it identifies four memorializing strategies: continuity tradition , regularity exemplarity , development, and acceptance of chance.
This framework serves in pursuing a twofold aim: to reconstruct the literary field of memory in fifth-century bce Greece; and to interpret Greek historiography as a memorializing mode. The book offers a rich account of poetic conventions and contexts through which each of these genres counterbalanced contingency through the use of exemplary and traditional modes of memory.
This fine analysis highlights the grip of the present on the past as a significant feature of both historiographical and nonhistoriographical genres. The essay argues that this work fills a disciplinary gap by extending the reflection on memory to a new period, Greek antiquity. This confrontation marked a certain separation of historiography from other memorializing genres.
Whereas poetic and rhetorical memories were posited against contingency, historiography sought to retrieve those aspects of the past that may otherwise have been irretrievably lost and forgotten. In doing so, it formulated the historiographical imperative as a negation of forgetting that problematized the truth-value of memory and the very act of remembering the past. By rejecting the old divide between prehistory and history, the group of scholars behind Deep History opens a new window on the problem of the unity and diversity of human experience over the very long run.
Their use of kinship metaphors suggests not only a link between modern society and the deep past, but also perhaps a way to imagine the common legacy of the human species. But what emerges from Deep History is hardly a sunny story about the distant origins of social justice and ecological harmony. The other central metaphor of the book—the fractal—uncovers the slow prelude to the Anthropocene.
My critical reading presents an alternative understanding of deep history as an arena for a new politics of species. Here a cornucopian understanding of human adaptation clashes with a new pessimism about the climatic fragility of Neolithic civilization.
Addressing the recent call to rethink history as a form of presence, the essay works toward a recovery of a space in which such presence of history is encoded. I argue that history as a form of active perception is akin to virtual witnessing of the past in the moment of our encounter with historical artifacts, be they texts, photographs, or buildings. Throughout, I work with the notion of distance and trans-dimensional presence as the forces that shape and reshape historical awareness. Ruins, intimately connected to the modern historical imagination, are approached not as sites of commemoration or nostalgia, but as spaces of active exchange between presence and disappearance.
As such, they are taken to be the models for the transitive character of history itself, blurring the division between perception and thought. In other words, ruins are taken as structures that evoke and summon the past to an encounter with contemporary reality—a type of co-appearance that opens the possibility of virtually witnessing the past. This essay discusses the role of the notions of reference, truth, and meaning in historical representation. Four major claims will be argued. Second, representation is not a two-place, but a three-place operator: in representation a represented reality 1 is represented by a representation 2 focusing on certain aspects of represented reality 3.
Third, applying the notions of reference, truth, and meaning to historical representations compels us to give them a content basically different from the ones they have in contemporary philosophy of language and science. Fourth, it will be shown that in historical representation, meaning precedes truth—and not the other way around as in most of contemporary philosophy of language. In this paper I reflect critically on the concept of pragmatism as it is used in Ottoman historiography.
Pragmatism has gained increasing currency over the last ten to fifteen years as one of the defining features of the Ottoman polity. I argue that unless it is properly defined from a theoretical-philosophical perspective, and carefully contextualized from a historical perspective, pragmatism cannot be used as an explanatory or comparative category. When used as a framework of explanation for historical change, pragmatism blurs more than it clarifies an essential aspect of the Ottoman polity that it seeks to define, namely, the political.
It is essential to reflect on the difference between the political and politics because whereas the political refers to the configuration of the power relations that organize a society as a legitimate entity, politics refers to the strategies, practices, institutions, or discourses whose purpose is to construct and retain hegemony within a polity. Through an analysis of the concept of pragmatism in Ottoman historiography, I show that for most proponents of Ottoman pragmatism, pragmatism pertains to politics rather than to the political. From a perspective rigorously confined to political theory, I argue that much like the discourse of modern tolerance, pragmatism in Ottoman historiography posits a problematic periodization, relegates the political to the background, and depoliticizes essential power relations.
Mapping a spectacular long-term decline in person-on-person violence and reduction in deaths due to war, Pinker celebrates the spread of a cultural pattern of self-restraint, sensitivity to human suffering, and recent regard for human rights, due to the modern state and gentle commerce capitalism.
For Pinker the human condition has gotten steadily better, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible. Why then are so many so negative about modernity? Citing the psychology of temporal proximity to horrific events and the bad-news predilection of the media, Pinker ignores the specifically modern and less directly brutal institutionalized forms of violence as well as the profound ambivalence of progress. He decisively demonstrates the drop in certain kinds of violence, but his account becomes strangely ideological, recapitulating key Cold-War themes—the individual against totalitarianism, the Enlightenment against the counter-Enlightenment, rationalism and freedom against murderous utopianism—distorting his study in the name of gentle commerce, Marxism, and anti-Communism.
In that light, White sought to show the way beyond historiographical realism to more innovative approaches—ideally to serve progressive politics. In doing so, the book is part of a larger tendency in the way that historians have approached historiography, which in turn reflects their ambivalence about their relationship to the historical process.
Thus, even as the very enterprise of historiography is premised on the recognition of how historians are themselves the products of the historical process, historians have revealed the limits to that recognition in their approach to the subject. In his thought-provoking book, Alex Mesoudi argues for an evolutionary, unifying framework for the social sciences, which is based on the principles of Darwinian theory. Mesoudi maintains that cultural change can be illuminated by using the genotype-phenotype distinction, and that it is sufficiently similar to biological change to warrant a theory of culture-change based on evolutionary models.
He describes examples of cultural microevolution, within-population changes, and the biologically inspired population genetics models used to study them. He also shows that some aspects of large-scale macro-evolutionary cultural transformation can be studied by using ecological models and phylogenetic comparative techniques.
His reductive approach leads to overlooking culture as a system with emergent processes and features. Mesoudi therefore does not engage with any of the central past and present theories in sociology and anthropology for which the systems view of culture is central, and he does not analyze the emergent, high-level properties of human cultural-social systems.
We suggest that a systems perspective, using some analogies and metaphors from developmental biology, can complement the evolutionary approach and is more in tune with a systems view of society. Such an approach, which stresses feedback and self-sustaining interactions within social networks, and engages with the insights of sociological and anthropological theories, can contribute to the understanding of cultural systems by highlighting the evolution of processes of social cohesion, and by making use of the mathematical approaches of complexity theory.
Even as the model continues to be important for historians, however, philosophers now regard the original speech act theory paradigm as dated. Are there more recent initiatives that might reignite theoretical work in this area? This article argues that the inferentialism of Robert Brandom is one of the most interesting contemporary philosophical projects with historical implications.
Irony itself, to be sure, has to be divided broadly speaking into its dramatic or Socratic variants and the unstable and paradoxical alternative defended by poststructuralist critics. The latter produced in White an anxiety about the anarchistic implications of an allegedly inherent undecidability in historical interpretation and narration, which threatened to conflate history entirely with fiction. By recovering the necessary role of intentionality as a prerequisite for a more moderate version of Socratic and dramatic irony—in which hindsight provides some purchase on a truth denied actors at the time history is made—it is possible to rescue an ironic attitude that can register the frequency of unintended consequences without surrendering to the conclusion that no explanation or interpretation is superior to another.
Against yet a third alternative, which tries to reconstruct the past rationally as a prelude to the present, acknowledging the ironic undermining of intentions avoids giving all the power to the contemporary historian and restores a dialogic balance between actors in the past and their present-day interpreters. Why were mid-nineteenth-century Hispanic populations so small in what is now the American Southwest, after centuries of colonization? Employing an exercise in cartographic history, centered on the Pecos River Valley, we can confirm a hypothesis drawn from that theoretical model: Comanche sway was so great that European mapmakers appear to have lost knowledge about that geographical region.
This new historical model deserves close attention from scholars. In this forum, four leading historians, drawn from different fields, assess the contribution of The Comanche Empire. Moreover, his four-part framework for understanding power—spatial control, economic control, assimilation, and influence over neighbors—provides a useful model for analyzing indigenous polities in other places and times.
Future historical studies of Native sovereignty, though, should include tribally specific notions of sovereignty and ways of knowing and remembering the past. How should historians write Native history? To what extent should one privilege Native terms, sources, chronologies, and epistemologies? And to what extent should historians align Native history with concepts developed for other peoples and places?
This essay charts the perils and possibilities of each position. Comanche power flourished between a struggling Mexico and an expanding US, until the military and industrial power of the latter combined with the ecological vulnerabilities of the Comanche economy to enable the Anglo-American triumph in what should be called the War for North America of — The US claimed a continental West from an uncertain Mexican sovereignty and an assertive Comanche empire of war and trade.
The expansion and collapse of New Spain, the rise and fall of the Comanche empire, and the rise of the United States all occurred within an evolving globalization. Spanish North America expanded to ; Comanche power rose in the eighteenth century and soared after as Mexico struggled with the challenges of nation-making; then the United States defeated both to claim continental hegemony in the s. These expansions, conflicts, and changes—all tied to larger processes of globalization—reshaped North America between and This essay revisits the main themes and arguments put forward in The Comanche Empire : indigenous agency; spatial reorientation in the writing of colonial histories; the composition of the Comanche empire and its impact on the history of North America.
It also responds to a number of specific issues raised by the roundtable participants: differences and similarities between indigenous and Euro-colonial power regimes; balancing of culture-specific frameworks with broad-gauge political economic analysis; linkages between indigenous agency and indigenous sovereignty in colonial encounters; the question of periodization in writing Native American and colonial histories.
By Espen Hammer. Time as measured by the clock is the paradigmatic instance of this sense of time. In this perspective time is quantifiable and forward-looking, and the present is dominated by the future. Hammer argues that this manner of experiencing time provides a way of living that brings with it not only the basis for great successes in technology, but also great costs—specifically, what he calls the problems of transience and of meaning.
Hammer goes about his task by considering the ways some of the great modern philosophers have characterized present-day temporality and have responded to the problems he has identified. Specifically, he considers what Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, early Heidegger, Habermas, Bloch, and Adorno provide in response to our peculiarly modern predicaments. The book is remarkable for its clarity and perceptiveness, but in the process in crucial places it simplifies the matters at hand or fails to push its insights as far as it ought, and in the end promises more than it can deliver.
In this it betrays a rationalist confidence in the power of reason that founders on what in many ways remains a mystery. By Dominick LaCapra. In this collection of critical essays, Dominick LaCapra, with characteristic verve, takes on a variety of authors who have addressed issues relating to intellectual history, history generally, violence, trauma, and the relation between the human and the animal. Paul A. By Hayden White.
Just as socialism in a broad sense was the main source of utopian thought between the mid-nineteenth and the mid-twentieth century, anti- socialism in the same broad sense was the foremost inspiration of the anti-utopian imagination in the same period. The uchronias studied here can only be understood in the context of the passionate and often bitter debates raised by these transformations. The politics of the future Spanish uchronias invite the politico-ideological reading they often receive for various reasons.
The most obvious is their political subject matter: they focused on the actors, movements and ideas that dominated the politics of their age, both in Spain and abroad, and reflected —albeit in a biased way— the course of Spanish politics during this long period. Some had real-life characters and adopted the form of a fictional —if satirical— political chronicle. As the Spanish liberal and conservative press had done since the s, they emphasized the identification of socialism, communism and anarchism, their utopian chimerical character and the mortal threat they posed to Spanish society.
Along with political radicalism, they condemned materialism, utilitarianism, science, technology and industry as opposed to human nature, in line with British and French anti-utopias and many utopias since the late nineteenth century. All three were written in the British satirical tradition, while drawing on topoi already used by Aristophanes, and, even if they did not condemn feminism as such —the three authors were progressive Republicans—, they do invite an anti-utopian reading.
We are already measured and weighted by it, with no possible escape. In the same way as the prophets of the Old Testament, their authors presented the picture of hell on Earth in order to persuade sinners to mend their ways before it was too late. However, as the genre developed and the influence of foreign fantastic literature spread in Spain since the turn of the century, authors started to produce complex and ingenious plots which effectively conveyed their messages.
The influence of H. Early cacotopian regimes were typically anarchic and violent, ruling by coercion rather than by consent. After the turn of the century, however, they became increasingly orderly, technocratic and totalitarian, controlling the private life and the thoughts of its citizens. The gradual replacement of the barbarian with the totalitarian paradigm reflects an evolution in the concept of revolution towards the Fordist World State of Brave new world Behind these changes in content descriptions of collectivist societies reflect continuity in the use of some basic metaphors, such as the colour grey and an animal imagery reminiscent of classic science-fiction.
Thanks to radio and TV, now we have got them. Most revolutions ended up in chaos, the reaction of the bourgeoisie and the restoration of the old order, amidst the celebration of the people. On a basic level, they were satires, parodically inverting the traditional utopian model in order to emphasize its absurdity. Nevertheless, any attempt at drawing neat distinctions would ignore the constant overlaps and hybridizations in this literature.