Depth and death : on history, humanitarianism, and mortuary culture

  • The present article proposes a re-reading of what "inclusion" into the sphere of the historical actually means in modern European historical discourse. It argues that this re-reading permits challenging a powerful, but problematic norm of ontological homogeneity as something to be achieved in and by historical discourse. At least some of the more conceptually profound challenges that accounts of "deep history" - of very distant pasts - pose to historical discourse have to do with pursuits of this norm. Historical theory has the potential of responding to some of these challenges and actually reverting them back at the practice of accounting for deep times in historical writing. The argument proceeds, in a first step, by analyzing the ties between modern European mortuary cultures and historical writing. In a second step, the history of humanitarian moralities is brought to bear on the analysis, in order to make visible, thirdly, the fractured presences of deep time in modern-era and contemporary historical writing. The fractures in question emerge, the article argues, from the ontological heterogeneity of historical knowledge. So in the end, a position beyond ontological homogeneity is adumbrated.

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Author:Henning TrüperORCiDGND
Parent Title (German):History of the Present
Document Type:Preprint
Date of Publication (online):2021/11/29
Year of first Publication:2021
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2021/12/01
Tag:Deep time; Humanitarianism; Mortuary culture; Theory of history
GND Keyword:Geschichtstheorie; Humanitarismus; Bestattung; Tod; Brauchtum
Page Number:41
First Page:1
Last Page:41
Erscheint in: History of the Present 11.2 (Oct. 2021), 119-151.
Dewey Decimal Classification:8 Literatur / 80 Literatur, Rhetorik, Literaturwissenschaft / 800 Literatur und Rhetorik
9 Geschichte und Geografie / 94 Geschichte Europas / 940 Geschichte Europas
Sammlungen:CompaRe | Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft
CompaRe | Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft / Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Berlin
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht