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Posts Tagged ‘Time’

L’avenir est comme le reste: il n’est plus ce qu’il était. J’entends par là que nous ne savons plus penser à lui avec quelque confiance dans nos inductions. Nous avons perdu nos moyens traditionnels d’y penser et de prévoir: c’est le pathétique de notre état.
Tandis que nous sommes de plus en plus anxieux de connaître où nous allons, que nous ne nous lassons pas de nous interroger sur les lendemains possibles, nous vivons, d’autre part, une vie terriblement quotidienne. Nous vivons au jour le jour, comme aux époques les plus pressées par les besoins immédiats, comme aux temps les plus précaires de l’humanité. Mais encore, et comme pour empirer notre sensation d’incertitude, nous ne sommes pas accoutumés à nous passer de prévisions, nous ne sommes pas encore organisés pour ne vivre que dans le présent et par à-coups. Nos habitudes profondes, nos lois, notre langage, nos sentiments, nos ambitions, sont engendrés dans un temps et accordés à un temps qui admettait de longues durées, qui fondait et raisonnait sur un passé immense, et visait un avenir mesuré par générations.

Paul Valéry: Notre destin et les lettres [1937], in: Regards sur le monde actuel & autres essais, 46th edn., Paris 1945, p. 195–220, 201–202.

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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]

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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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Some of my writing has been made available online through the Freidoks server at Freiburg University.

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On December 2nd, I will present a lecture within the framework of a series titled “New Research in History”.

In this series, which is directed specifically at highschool teachers and students aspiring to become teachers, fifteen historians from Freiburg University present the current ‘state of the art’ in their respective fields of expertise. They ask which current developments in the academic historical discipline are such that they deserve incorporation into the history curricula at the highschool level. How has our understanding of history changed and how may this be reflected in history teaching?

My lecture will be concerned with the origins of modernity in the so-called ‘Sattelzeit’ era. Its title is:

Anfang der Moderne. Die ‚Sattelzeit‘ (ca. 1750-1850) in atlantischer Perspektive

(The Onset of Modernity. The ‘Sattelzeit’ (ca. 1750-1850) in Atlantic Perspective)

For more information, click here.
For the series’ program, click here.

 

Addition (February 10, 2014)

The powerpoint file of this presentation has been made available through the website and may be found here.

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At a workshop at the ZiF in Bielefeld, I will be presenting a paper on the use of the concept of zeitgeist in early nineteenth century political discourse, titled:

The Politics of Time: Zeitgeist in Early Nineteenth-Century Political Discourse.

The workshop, titled “Zeitgeist: an Inquiry into the Media of Time-Specific Cultural Patterns”, takes place from 19 to 21 September, 2013. For the programm, click here. For the workshop’s concept, click here.

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This summer semester I will be teaching one master seminar and an exercise course on the reading of French sources. As usual, I have assembled a ‘pearltree’ for each of these courses with weblinks to the specific themes.

A History of Time – Changing Cultures of Temporality (ca. 1750-1850)
(Pearltree – websites on this topic)

and

Politeness – Sources on the History of Manners in France (ca. 1700-1850)
(Pearltree – websites on this topic)

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