Category: #English

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


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


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


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.


Os Sertões as a Clash of Ontologies in Brazilian Intellectual History

Carlos Henrique Armani – In this blog post I would like to discuss ongoing research on the work Os sertões (Rebellion in the Backlands) by Euclides da Cunha, published in Brazil in 1902. Since its publication, Os sertões has been an object of study in Brazilian intellectual history; in a way, it was already born a classic.

Quo vadis, History of Religion? Outline of a Historical-Theoretical Problem

Jana Kristin Hoffmann – The study of religion and its history in the 20th century is booming. Taken together, however, scholarly research and findings resemble a diffuse patchwork. The application of theory in the field of the history of religion may also be described as ambiguous, chaotic, and unclear. The question thus arises: what part does the theory of history play in the study of the history of religion? To what extent does the history of religion need theory?
Beitrag in Deutsch Post in English


Evidenzwandel: On the Historicity of Concepts, Monuments, and the Visual Sphere

Jeffrey Andrew Barash – The brief contribution I propose in the framework of this blog centers on what I take to be a fundamental concept that has emerged in the discourse of contemporary historical theory over the last decades. My analysis is admittedly hypothetical, not only due to its theoretical character, but also because I propose to interpret the nuances of the term Evidenzwandel in a language that is not my native tongue and that has no exact equivalent in English. Be this as it may, the prominence of this concept in contemporary historical theory and its singular role in demarcating the present situation of historical reflection merits an attempt at elucidation.


Are We All Time-Travelling Detectives? Why Metaphors Matter in Talking About the Work Historians Do (Part 2)

Charlotte Lerg – I will argue that metaphors come with added meaning and related implications, it matters how we describe the work of historians. It matters methodologically and theoretically, it matters politically and it matters for the public perception of the discipline. These four dimensions cannot always be separated.
Read part 1 here

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