Category: #English

The life span of a light bulb. Thoughts on the preservation and decay of a changing object

Marcus Wystub – Is a new light bulb on its way to replace the broken one seen in the photograph of the sewing room at the Wäschefabrik Museum in Bielefeld? The lamps in the background apparently provided the workstations of the seamstresses with light until the 1980s. A look at the room suggests they were part of and a prerequisite for the process of producing linen and clothing. Today, in contrast, they lit up the room for me as a museum visitor.
Beitrag in Deutsch Post in English

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Stones and Jinns. Time between Layers of Sedimentation and Hauntology

Margrit Pernau – Koselleck’s metaphor of the layers of sedimentation (Zeitschichten) was and continues to be one of his most productive ideas. Instead of assuming a neat division between the past and the present, this metaphor allows to explore ways in which the past retains its presence in the present. Like in the process of sedimentation – Koselleck here draws on geological knowledge – older layers of history never disappear, but get overlaid by newer deposits. Koselleck’s metaphor has repeatedly translated into visuals.

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Reinhart Koselleck’s metaphorical language: an application of historical semantics to one of its founding figures

Willibald Steinmetz – Anyone who reads Koselleck’s texts in the original German will be aware of two striking features in the ways he uses language: first, a frequent recourse to certain metaphorical expressions, and second, an extensive use of a limited number of rather peculiar words, or, contrariwise, of familiar words in an idiosyncratic way. Not a few of those idiosyncratic expressions, especially the verbs, are used by Koselleck in ways that lay bare the hidden metaphorical resonances they contain.

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KOMPOSITA: Contributions to Reinhart Koselleck’s “Space of Resonance”

Bettina Brandt, Jonathon Catlin, Jana Kristin Hoffmann & Lisa Regazzoni – The historian Reinhart Koselleck would have turned one hundred on April 23, 2023. The work of Koselleck, who died in 2006, is now in vogue in the humanities and historical social sciences, both in Germany and internationally. The fact that Koselleck addressed a basic question of historical scholarship with his contributions to a theory of historical time is a likely factor in this successful reception, as is the diversity of his oeuvre, in which new facets can continually be discovered, and which invites surprising readings.

What conditions should not prevail? History-based learning. Plea for a negative approach to history-based learning

Philipp McLean – The argument unfolded by Lisa Regazzoni in her contribution And If History Were to Turn Its Back on the Future? A Thought-provoking Interjection, which questions the clear intentional and controllable connection between past and future, also opens up significant problems for learning from history. As a conceivable solution to this problem, the negative reference to history(s) is proposed here in order to reflectively derive from history(s) which social conditions should be avoided in the future; without, however, predicting these very developments with teleological certainty or assuming an inevitable development with regard to the improvement of freedom possibilities.
Beitrag in Deutsch Post in English

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Climate(s) of Change: Towards a “Radical” Concept of History Education in the Anthropocene?

Andreas Hübner – The planet we live on “is a world of our making, but not of our choice.” This proposition, put forward by Georges Monbiot, illustrates the challenges the world faces today just as it illustrates the challenges that historical thinking and historical learning are called to face. Yet, in history didactics, responses to current (climate) crises are mostly normative; and, to recall Christian Heuer’s reference to dealing with ‘uncertainty’ in teaching history, they are often rooted in “the modern idea and euphoric hope of being able to shape a better future by ‘looking back’.”
Post in English Article en Franςais

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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

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History Now! On Presentism and a Strange Online Debate in American Historiography (Part 1)

Georg Gangl – James H. Sweet is the current president of the American Historical Association (AHA), the largest scholarly organization of historians worldwide, and he recently found himself in quite a situation. As part of his function as president of AHA, Sweet writes the monthly column From the President in the organization’s news magazine Perspectives on History. While I imagine the column is usually read with some interest by AHA members and other readers, the text in the September issue of this year entitled “IS HISTORY HISTORY? Identity Politics and Teleologies of the Present” garnered rather special and outsized attention.

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