History Now! On Presentism and a Strange Online Debate in American Historiography (Part 2)
Georg Gangl – Historians find themselves in a peculiar position: They employ the tools available to them in their own present to acquire knowledge about the past, a past that is over and done with and cannot be (experimentally) reinstated, and must therefore be reconstructed and inferred through the traces it left behind. Here the issue of our “existential presentism” and the accompanying issue of anachronism become salient. Whether we have our historian’s cap on or not, we cannot shed our temporal positioning in our own present and, with that, in the future of the past.
Read part 1 here