The Limits of History

Author: Constantin Fasolt

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022611564X

Category: History

Page: 347

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History casts a spell on our minds more powerful than science or religion. It does not root us in the past at all. It rather flatters us with the belief in our ability to recreate the world in our image. It is a form of self-assertion that brooks no opposition or dissent and shelters us from the experience of time. So argues Constantin Fasolt in The Limits of History, an ambitious and pathbreaking study that conquers history's power by carrying the fight into the center of its domain. Fasolt considers the work of Hermann Conring (1606-81) and Bartolus of Sassoferrato (1313/14-57), two antipodes in early modern battles over the principles of European thought and action that ended with the triumph of historical consciousness. Proceeding according to the rules of normal historical analysis—gathering evidence, putting it in context, and analyzing its meaning—Fasolt uncovers limits that no kind of history can cross. He concludes that history is a ritual designed to maintain the modern faith in the autonomy of states and individuals. God wants it, the old crusaders would have said. The truth, Fasolt insists, only begins where that illusion ends. With its probing look at the ideological underpinnings of historical practice, The Limits of History demonstrates that history presupposes highly political assumptions about free will, responsibility, and the relationship between the past and the present. A work of both intellectual history and historiography, it will prove invaluable to students of historical method, philosophy, political theory, and early modern European culture.
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At the Limits of History

Essays on Theory and Practice

Author: Keith Jenkins

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1136029826

Category: History

Page: 326

View: 3785

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"Why bother with history? Keith Jenkins has an answer. He helps us re-think the "end of history", as signalled by postmodernity. Readers may disagree with him, but he never fails to provoke debate about the future of the past." Joanna Bourke, Professor of History, Birkbeck College Keith Jenkins’ work on historical theory is renowned; this collection presents the essential elements of his work over the last fifteen years. Here we see Jenkins address the difficult and complex question of defining the limits of history. The collection draws together the key pieces of his work in one handy volume, encompassing the ever controversial issue of postmodernism and history, questions on the end of history and radical history into the future. Exchanges with Perez Zagorin and Michael Coleman further illuminate the level of debate that has surrounded postmodernism, and which continues to do so. An extended introduction and abstracts which contextualize each piece, together with a foreword by Hayden White and an afterword by Alun Munslow, make this collection essential reading for all those interested in the theory and practice of history and its development over the last few decades.
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History at the Limit of World-History

Author: Ranajit Guha

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231505094

Category: History

Page: 128

View: 8546

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The past is not just, as has been famously said, another country with foreign customs: it is a contested and colonized terrain. Indigenous histories have been expropriated, eclipsed, sometimes even wholly eradicated, in the service of imperialist aims buttressed by a distinctly Western philosophy of history. Ranajit Guha, perhaps the most influential figure in postcolonial and subaltern studies at work today, offers a critique of such historiography by taking issue with the Hegelian concept of World-history. That concept, he contends, reduces the course of human history to the amoral record of states and empires, great men and clashing civilizations. It renders invisible the quotidian experience of ordinary people and casts off all that came before it into the nether-existence known as "Prehistory." On the Indian subcontinent, Guha believes, this Western way of looking at the past was so successfully insinuated by British colonization that few today can see clearly its ongoing and pernicious influence. He argues that to break out of this habit of mind and go beyond the Eurocentric and statist limit of World-history historians should learn from literature to make their narratives doubly inclusive: to extend them in scope not only to make room for the pasts of the so-called peoples without history but to address the historicality of everyday life as well. Only then, as Guha demonstrates through an examination of Rabindranath Tagore's critique of historiography, can we recapture a more fully human past of "experience and wonder."
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Contingency and the Limits of History

How Touch Shapes Experience and Meaning

Author: Liane Carlson

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231548974

Category: Philosophy

Page: N.A

View: 5587

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Central to the historicizing work of recent decades has been the concept of contingency, the realm of chance, change, and the unnecessary. Following Nietzsche and Foucault, genealogists have deployed contingency to show that all institutions and ideas could have been otherwise as a critique of the status quo. Yet scholars have spent very little time considering the genealogy of contingency itself—or what its history means for its role in politics. In Contingency and the Limits of History, Liane Carlson historicizes contingency by tying it to its theological and etymological roots in “touch,” contending that much of its critical, disruptive power is specific to our current historical moment. She returns to an older definition of contingency found in Christian theology that understands it as the lot of mortal creatures, who suffer, feel, bleed, and change, in contrast to a necessary, unchanging, impassible God. Far from dying out, Carlson reveals, this theological past persists in continental philosophy, where thinkers such as Novalis, Schelling, Merleau-Ponty, and Serres have imagined contingency as a type of radical destabilization brought about by the body’s collision with a changing world. Through studies of sickness, loneliness, violation, and love, she shows that different experiences of contingency can lead to dramatically dissimilar ethical and political projects. A strikingly original reconsideration of one of continental philosophy and critical theory’s most cherished concepts, this book reveals the limits of historicist accounts.
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Holocaust Representation

Art Within the Limits of History and Ethics

Author: Berel Lang

Publisher: JHU Press

ISBN: 9780801864155

Category: Art

Page: 175

View: 7922

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Since Theodor Adorno's attack on the writing of poetry "after Auschwitz," artists and theorists have faced the problem of reconciling the moral enormity of the Nazi genocide with the artist's search for creative freedom. In Holocaust Representation, Berel Lang addresses the relation between ethics and art in the context of contemporary discussions of the Holocaust. Are certain aesthetic means or genres "out of bounds" for the Holocaust? To what extent should artists be constrained by the "actuality" of history—and is the Holocaust unique in raising these problems of representation? The dynamics between artistic form and content generally hold even more intensely, Lang argues, when art's subject has the moral weight of an event like the Holocaust. As authors reach beyond the standard conventions for more adequate means of representation, Holocaust writings frequently display a blurring of genres. The same impulse manifests itself in repeated claims of historical as well as artistic authenticity. Informing Lang's discussion are the recent conflicts about the truth-status of Benjamin Wilkomirski's "memoir" Fragments and the comic fantasy of Roberto Benigni's film Life Is Beautiful. Lang views Holocaust representation as limited by a combination of ethical and historical constraints. As art that violates such constraints often lapses into sentimentality or melodrama, cliché or kitsch, this becomes all the more objectionable when its subject is moral enormity. At an extreme, all Holocaust representation must face the test of whether its referent would not be more authentically expressed by silence—that is, by the absence of representation.
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Terrific Majesty

The Powers of Shaka Zulu and the Limits of Historical Invention

Author: Carolyn Hamilton

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674038202

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 294

View: 8696

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Since his assassination in 1828, King Shaka Zulu--founder of the powerful Zulu kingdom and leader of the army that nearly toppled British colonial rule in South Africa--has made his empire in popular imaginations throughout Africa and the West. Shaka is today the hero of Zulu nationalism, the centerpiece of Inkatha ideology, a demon of apartheid, the namesake of a South African theme park, even the subject of a major TV film. Terrific Majestyexplores the reasons for the potency of Shaka's image, examining the ways it has changed over time--from colonial legend, through Africanist idealization, to modern cultural icon. This study suggests that tradition cannot be freely invented, either by European observers who recorded it or by subsequent African ideologues. There are particular historical limits and constraints that operate on the activities of invention and imagination and give the various images of Shaka their power. These insights are illustrated with subtlety and authority in a series of highly original analyses. Terrific Majesty is an exceptional work whose special contribution lies in the methodological lessons it delivers; above all its sophisticated rehabilitation of colonial sources for the precolonial period, through the demonstration that colonial texts were critically shaped by indigenous African discourse. With its sensitivity to recent critical studies, the book will also have a wider resonance in the fields of history, anthropology, cultural studies, and post-colonial literature.
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Divine Revelation and the Limits of Historical Criticism

Author: William James Abraham

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 9780198266655

Category: Religion

Page: 222

View: 8146

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Oxford Scholarly Classics is a new series that makes available again great academic works from the archives of Oxford University Press. Reissued in uniform series design, the reissues will enable libraries, scholars, and students to gain fresh access to some of the finest scholarship of the last century.
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The Limits of Empire: European Imperial Formations in Early Modern World History

Essays in Honor of Geoffrey Parker

Author: Professor Tonio Andrade,Professor William Reger

Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

ISBN: 1409471144

Category: History

Page: 414

View: 5235

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This volume, published in honor of historian Geoffrey Parker, explores the working of European empires in a global perspective, focusing on one of the most important themes of Parker’s work: the limits of empire, which is to say, the centrifugal forces – sacral, dynastic, military, diplomatic, geographical, informational – that plagued imperial formations in the early modern period (1500–1800). During this time of wrenching technological, demographic, climatic, and economic change, empires had to struggle with new religious movements, incipient nationalisms, new sea routes, new military technologies, and an evolving state system with complex new rules of diplomacy. Engaging with a host of current debates, the chapters in this book break away from conventional historical conceptions of empire as an essentially western phenomenon with clear demarcation lines between the colonizer and the colonized. These are replaced here by much more fluid and subtle conceptions that highlight complex interplays between coalitions of rulers and ruled. In so doing, the volume builds upon recent work that increasingly suggests that empires simply could not exist without the consent of their imperial subjects, or at least significant groups of them. This was as true for the British Raj as it was for imperial China or Russia. Whilst the thirteen chapters in this book focus on a number of geographic regions and adopt different approaches, each shares a focus on, and interest in, the working of empires and the ways that imperial formations dealt with – or failed to deal with – the challenges that beset them. Taken together, they reflect a new phase in the evolving historiography of empire. They also reflect the scholarly contributions of the dedicatee, Geoffrey Parker, whose life and work are discussed in the introductory chapters and, we’re proud to say, in a delightful chapter by Parker himself, an autobiographical reflection that closes the book.
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The Limits of Literary Historicism

Author: Allen Dunn,Thomas Haddox

Publisher: Univ. of Tennessee Press

ISBN: 1572338318

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 206

View: 4851

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The Limits of Literary Historicism is a collection of essays arguing that historicism, which has come to dominate the professional study of literature in recent decades, has become ossified. By drawing attention to the limits of historicism—its blind spots, overreach, and reluctance to acknowledge its commitments—this provocative new book seeks a clearer understanding of what historicism can and cannot teach us about literary narrative. Editors Allen Dunn and Thomas F. Haddox have gathered contributions from leading scholars that challenge the dominance of contemporary historicism. These pieces critique historicism as it is generally practiced, propose alternative historicist models that transcend mere formula, and suggest alternatives to historicism altogether. The volume begins with the editors’ extended introduction, “The Enigma of Critical Distance; or, Why Historicists Need Convictions,” and then is divided into three sections: “The Limits of Historicism,” “Engagements with History,” and “Alternatives to History.” Defying convention, The Limits of Literary Historicism shakes up established modes to move beyond the claustrophobic analyses of contemporary historicism and to ask larger questions that envision more fulfilling and more responsible possibilities in the practice of literary scholarship.
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