Category: Theory of History Wide Open

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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

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

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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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Figuratively Speaking. Why Metaphors Matter in Talking About the Work Historians Do (Part 1)

Charlotte Lerg – I like a good metaphor. That said, some of my colleagues who have written texts with me, might be inclined to say, I like metaphors a little too much. But we all speak figuratively on a regular basis, often without thinking twice about it. While we may consider metaphors stylistic devices that primarily fulfil an aesthetic function in literary prose or poetry, they are, in fact, an inevitable element of scientific and academic language, also in history.
Read part 2 here

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The Meanings of Historicity—the End and the Beginning

Augusto de Carvalho – An elementary founding principle of modern thinking, which philosophy called historicity, combines three structural aspects of human consciousness about the features of reality: that we are not omnipresent—therefore, we are not omniscient or omnipotent, as our spiritual powers are restricted and finite. Considering human existence has always been subject to the yoke of finitude; we are permanently enmeshed in intervals, fixed by death, the end and, above all, by birth, the beginning. In this short essay, then, I will try to present an argument in favour of acknowledging how analysis of the meanings of historicity can disclose some unnoticeable metaphysical foundations of our understanding of what history is.

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And If History Were to Turn Its Back on the Future? A Thought-provoking Interjection

Lisa Regazzoni – “How do we want to write history in the future?” Invited to a roundtable to provide input in response to this apparently straightforward question, I had a sense of unease and quite a few difficulties. Not because I have no vision of how I would like to write history or because I’m incapable of imagining how history could or should be written in the future, assuming history is still told or represented in written form. My unease comes from having to link ideas such as “want to”, “writing history” and “future” in the same sentence.

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Virtual Historiography – Nine Hypotheses

Lucian Hölscher – Modern historiography is well-known for its transitory character. A few years after their publication, most history books are already “historical” in the sense that readers no longer take them for an actual and accurate description of the past. What can be done to counter this ephemeral weakness of historiography?

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