Theory of History at Work
This blog aims to theorize and reflect on history, which is to say history as both a research object and epistemological practice. It seeks, in the sense of a workshop, to critically question what history is, and how it can be researched and represented. Hence, by the theory of history we understand a process that is “at work,” one that also includes reflecting on one’s own practice. This results in a wide range of topics, including “classic” questions such as: What exactly is history? How can the ontological absence of the past and future be realized? What are the objects of historical research? How are they dealt with in achieving knowledge? In what medial, fragmentary, and (non)-accidental form is the past handed down? Which (medial) forms of representation do historians choose to present their interpretations of non-present times? What social roles are assigned to history, and what ethical values are associated with it as a historically and geographically situated academic practice?
At the same time, these “classical” questions need to be expanded and reflected upon with respect to the context-bound nature of all knowledge formation. As new theoretical concepts, methodological approaches, and turns are developed at ever-shorter intervals—and producing new forms of history—the above-mentioned questions change as well. Reflective theoretical approaches therefore constantly reformulate, adapt, and update their questioning of history, and seek dialogue with other disciplines that have formulated these reflections. If the theory of history wants to be part of the current orientational and critical work of history, it should be reflected upon and updated regularly.
This blog aims to stimulate and shape this process through texts and multimedia content. It bundles such discussions and make them visible—a theory of history “at work.” It is intended for researchers interested in overarching questions of historical theory, who are all invited to submit their contributions and reflections in German, English, French, Italian, or Spanish. The blog is managed by an editorial team of researchers working in the field of historical theory from different disciplines and universities.