Posts Tagged ‘Acceleration’

The journal Traverse: Zeitschrift für Geschichte has just published a special issue on the topic of Temporal Experiences: Acceleration and Plural Temporalities (Zeiterfahrungen: Beschleunigung und plurale Temporalitäten). The table of contents may be found here.

In it, I have published a contribution on the concept of acceleration under the title:

Beschleunigung im langen 19. Jahrhundert: Einheit und Vielfalt einer Epochenkategorie

[Acceleration in the Long 19th Century: Unity and Plurality of a Temporal Category]


The essay starts by contrasting the influential theories of acceleration formulated by Reinhart Koselleck and Hartmut Rosa. On this basis, it argues for a new approach to the history of acceleration based in the methodical tradition of Historical Semantics.

From this point of view, the usual interpretation of acceleration as the distinguishing and dominant temporal mode of the modern era is left behind in favor of a more empirical approach. Taking German debates on the topic during the 19th century as a case study, the article shows how acceleration was not a singular phenomenon (defining the modern era) at all. Rather, it could have many different meanings according to the perspective and interests of various groups as well as the changing historical contexts. In this manner, the article argues for a differentiated focus on the ways in which ‘modern’ people interpreted their own temporality instead of the sweeping, but ultimately oversimplified identification of modernity as the ‘era of acceleration’.

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Next week, I will be presenting a paper at an academic workshop organized by Juri Auderset, Andreas Behr, Philipp Müller and Aline Steinbrecher at the University of Fribourg (CH). The workshop’s topic is “Zeiterfahrung. Untersuchungen über Beschleunigung und Entschleunigung von Geschichte” (Temporal Experience: Studies on Acceleration and Deceleration in History). It’s ultimate goal is to prepare a special issue of the journal Traverse: Zeitschrift für Geschichte in 2016.

The topic of my paper is the variety of discourses of acceleration in nineteenth century germany. Considering the influential views of accelleration formulated by Hartmut Rosa and Reinhart Koselleck in terms of attempts at a general temporal theory of modernization, the paper points to the method of Historical Semantics as a way to more fruitfully  consider the plurality of experiences and discourses of temporality in this period. Instead of searching for a single, specific temporality of the modern era, the paper argues for a differentiated view of the pluriform ways in which contemporaries experienced the temporal nature of their own present.

See here for the call for fapers and here for the workshop’s program.

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In the new year, I will be presenting my research in various contexts.

On January 16, I will present my current research project (Habilitation) in the research colloquium of Prof. Dr. Paul Nolte at the Freie Universität Berlin. The title of my presentation will be:

Politisches Schweigen: Sprachspiele an den Grenzen politischer Kommunikation, ca. 1815–1920.
(Political Silence: Language Games on the Edges of Political Communication, ca. 1815-1920).

One week later, on the 24th and 25th of January, I will participate in a workshop titled Kulturkritik zwischen Frankreich und Deutschland (1860-1933): Schreibweisen zwischen Wissenschaft und Dichtung organized by Prof. Dr. Barbara Beßlich, PD Dr. Olivier Agard and Prof. Dr. Gérard Raulet at Heidelberg University. My presentation (to be held on Friday, January 24 at 10:15) will be titled:

Eine ‘Klage, die so alt ist, als die Geschichte’? Kulturkritik um 1800 und 1900 im diachronen Vergleich.
(A ‘Complaint, as Old as History Itself’? Kulturkritik Around 1800 and 1900 Compared).

Finally, I will participate in a conference titled Die Geschichtlichkeit kollektiver Vorstellungen: Historische Semantik und Soziologie, to be held in Lüneburg from 13 to 15 February, organized by the section Sociology of Culture of the German Society for Sociology. My paper (to be held on Saturday at 11:45) is titled:

Beschleunigung: theoretische und empirische Perspektiven auf eine Kategorie der Moderne.
(Acceleration: Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives on a Category of Modernity).

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