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New Questions, Recent Theories and Global History Posthistoire, Postcolonialism, Subaltern Histories.

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Presentation on theme: "New Questions, Recent Theories and Global History Posthistoire, Postcolonialism, Subaltern Histories."— Presentation transcript:

1 New Questions, Recent Theories and Global History Posthistoire, Postcolonialism, Subaltern Histories

2 Why do we search for new theories in the new field of Global History? What kind of a communication culture is required for GH? Post-theories part from the 2nd level of interpretation – Which consequences does this have for historiography? How can results of local history be discussed within the GH-community?

3 What kind of communication culture is required for GH? Since post-theories we know, that not only the possessing knowledge expresses power relations. The relations themselves, e.g. of subject and object as well as the relations between different scientific communities reflect the existing power relations.

4 Post-theories part from the 2nd level of interpretation 1st level Thesis + Anti-thesis = Synthesis (= truth) 2nd level Not synthesis is the goal, but the finding of as many contradictions to truth as possible POST-THEORIES

5 The offer 1.Constructivism 2.Linguistic turn 3.Postmodernity and Posthistoire 4.Postcolonialism 5.Subaltern Histories

6 1. Constructivism in Historiography In it‘s basic understanding a constructivist approach was first expressed by an historian, Giambattista VICO in1710 : „Verbum ipsum factum“ = Saying the truth is identical with acting G. Vico, De Antiquissima Italorum Sarpientia, Neapel 1858

7 Consequences of constructivist theoretical approaches The fading away of the idea of an immediately perceivable truth Niklas Luhmann: There is no metarécit [= master narration], because there is no external observer status.“ N. Luhmann, Beobachtungen der Moderne, Opladen 1992, 8

8 2.1 linguistic turn critical backslash in the field of the philosophy of language  label Since 1987 New cultural history approaches appear in: American Historical Review The common goal consists in redefining the content of what could be called a history of ideas

9 2.2 linguistic turn The debate concentrates on the term „reality“ conceiving it whether to be a linguistically constructive or linguistically representative phenomena

10 3. Postmodernism, Posthistoire Jean-Francois Lyotard The post-modern knowledge. (1979) „ Modernity ends with the end of the modern meta-narrations Meta-narrations are conducted by a main and leading idea. Knowledge and life practices of a certain time seem to be reflected in it. Post-modernity dismantles this kind of history writing by reexamining their preconditions.

11 La condition postmoderne Values and visions external to the scientific act of historical writing prefigure different aims of a meta-narration, e.g. Emancipation of mankind, teleology of the spirit in idealism, hermeneutics as the sense of Historism, the promised welfare by capitalism, the liberation of mankind through revolution (Marxism) etc. “ Martina Kaller-Dietrich, Gibt es eine historische Methode? – Vom Umgang mit Geschichte/n. In: Theo Hug (Hg): Wie kommt die Wissenschaft zu ihrem Wissen? Bd 3: Einf ü hrung in die Methodologie der Sozial- und Kulturwissenschaften, Hohengehren 2001,

12 La condition postmoderne All those who live later do not know it better. With this result a specific historical experience concluded. It forced history to show itself by honoring progress as a truth. With this experience it was proved, that the later generation with it‘s more recent knowledge could not any longer be sure about considering it’s findings superior to former once. Peter Sloterdijk, Nach der Geschichte. In: Welsch, Wolfgang (Hg): Wege aus der Moderne. Schlüsseltexte der Postmoderne Diskussion. Berlin : 263)

13 4. Postcolonialism Postcolonial theories cannot be reduced to any kind of „universal“ or „leading“ cultural pattern. Martina Kaller-Dietrich, Postkoloniale Kultur- Geschichten sind die Antwort. Was aber war die Frage? In: Wiener Zeitschrift zur Geschichte der Neuzeit 2/1 (2001), 3-6

14 Effects of Globalization became an every day experience „Reducing culture to technology causes a kind of cultural homogenization spreading out to every corner of the world.“ Elmar Altvater, Feinde, Konkurrenten und Netzwerke oder die sozialen und politischen Konsequenzen der ökonomischen Globalisierung, in: Wolfgang Dietrich (Hg.), Schlaininger Schriften zur Friedens- und Konfliktforschung, Bd. 1: Is small beautiful? Die Leopold-Kohr-Vorlesungen. Wien 1998,

15 The adjective „postcolonial“... „... can describe the status of a country, which concluded it‘s process of independence vis à vis the metropolis. In this sense „postcolonial“ refers to economic, political, social and cultural characteristics typical for a decolonized country. Hence post- colonialism deals with the way in which the colonial heritage is assumed or rejected. In the same historical moment the former empires accomplished their postcolonial stage. They had to redefine their historical existence recognizing that they had and would not any longer expropriate their former colonies, be it economically or culturally.“ Kaller-Dietrich 2001, 4

16 Post-colonialism also … … refers to the actual form of repression, originated in direct colonialism and demands to assume the responsibility for it..“ Nevertheless progress and the increasing resource vasting in the techno-industrial complex enforces „traditional colonial privileges and deepens historically unequal economic exchange relations“. Wolfgang Neurath, Regierungsmentalität und Policey. Technologien der Glückseligkeit im Zeitalter der Vernunft, in: Österreichische Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaften 11/ 4 (2000) 11-33, hier 11.

17 5. Subaltern Studies Program = „the searching for the reasons of the failure of national self finding processes in postcolonial countries“ Ranajit Guha, On Some Aspects of The Historiography of Colonial India. In: Ranajit Guha/ Gayatri Spivak (ed), Selected Subaltern Studies. N.Y./ Oxfort 1988, 43

18 Perspectives … „…referring to one‘s own subalternity in the age of globalization we are invited to notify utopian thinking without false shame.“ Ileana Rodríguez, Rethinking the Subaltern, in José Rabasa (ed), Subaltern Studies in the Americas (= Disposito 46 (1994/1996) 24

19 Why do we search for new theories in the new field of Global History? What kind of a communication culture is required for GH? Post-theories part from the 2nd level of interpretation – Which consequences does this have for historiography? How can results of local history be discussed within the GH-community?

20 How can results of local history writings be discussed within, e.g. the GH-community? many subjects  differences interpretations, discourses, positions, perspectives etc. Homogenization of discourses becomes impossible “We” -- “they”- dichotomy (= the west and the rest/ we and the others-discourse praxis) disappears


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