Category: Theory of History Wide Open


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


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.


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.


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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