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New Questions, Recent Theories and Global History Posthistoire, Postcolonialism, Subaltern Histories Copyright: Martina Kaller-Dietrich 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "New Questions, Recent Theories and Global History Posthistoire, Postcolonialism, Subaltern Histories Copyright: Martina Kaller-Dietrich 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 New Questions, Recent Theories and Global History Posthistoire, Postcolonialism, Subaltern Histories Copyright: Martina Kaller-Dietrich 2006

2 The offer  Constructivism  Linguistic turn  Postmodernity and Posthistoire  Postcolonialism  Subaltern Histories

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

4 System Theories in Constructivism as Epistemology  Truth always is constructed and so it may be called the invention of a liar  Heinz von Foerster  Selffulfiling Prophesy Paul Watzlawick  The congruency of what has been said and what has been understood is statistically an exception Niklas Luhmann

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

6 linguistic turn  critical backslash in the field of the philosophy of language  lable  Since 1987 New cultural history appraches apear in: American Historical Review The common goal consists in redefining the content of what could be called a history of ideas  The debate concentrates on the term „reality“  concevieng it wheter to be a linguistically constructive or linguistically representative phenomena

7 Postmodernism, Posthistoire  Jean-Francois Lyotard The post-modern knowledge. (1979) „ Modernity ends with the end of the modern meta-narrations Metanarrations are conducted by a main and leading idea. Knowledges and life practices of a certain time seem to be reflected in it. Postmodernity desmantles this kind of history writing by reexamining their preconditions.

8 La condition postmoderne  Values and visions external to the scientific act of historical writinig prefigure different aims of a meta-narration,  e.g. Emancipation of mankind, teleology of the spirit in idealism, hemeneutics as the sense of historism, the promiss of wellfare 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,

9 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 shwo 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 the superiortiy of it‘s findings. Peter Sloterdijk, Nach der Geschichte. In: Welsch, Wolfgang (Hg): Wege aus der Moderne. Schlüsseltexte der Postmoderne Diskussion. Berlin : 263)

10 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

11 Effects of Globalisation became an every day experience  „Reducing culture to technology causes a kind of cultural homogenisation 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,

12 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 decolonised country. Hence postcolonialism deals with the way in which the colonial heritage is assumed or receted.  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

13 postcolonialism also  … refers to the actual form of repression, originated in direct colonialism and demands to assume the responsability for it..“  Nevertheless progress and the increasing ressource vasting in the tecno-industrial complex reforces „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.

14 Maalouf, Amin (1996) In the Name of Identiy. Violence and the Need to Belong. New York: Penguin Books 2003

15 Colonialism  „You could read a dozen large tomes on the history of Islam from its very beginnings and you still wouldn‘t understand what is going on in Algeria. But read 30 pages on colonialism and decolonisation and then you‘ll understand quite a lot.“ (Maalouf 2003, 66)

16 Identity is a reducing category  be it in a national or in the global context  identity = the sum of various affiliations and  Identity refers to a deep rooted need to belong to a social group and a social time (age) different responses

17 Social Times (Ages)  History Social Groups  kingdoms, empires, guildes, tribes, nations etc.

18 Changing Historical Conditions in the Arab Context I.7th to 15th century – Arab colonisation „From the banks of the Indus to the Atlantic, the best minds could blossom under the protection of Arab civilisation. And this didn‘t apply only to those who subscribed to the new religion.“ (Maalouf 2003, 63)

19 Changing Historical Conditions in the Arab Context II. After Napoleon‘s Egyptian campaign 1799 a period of institutional and economic modernisation took place e.g. King Mohammed Ali of Egypt  1815 France occupied Egypt „From this episode the Arbs concluded then and still conclude now that the West doesn‘t want the rest of the world to be like it; it just wants them to obey.“ (Maalouf 2003, 77)

20 Changing Historical Conditions in the Arab Context III. Beginning of the 20th century „The Muslim world of the Mediterranean was ruled over in the name not of religion but of nation.“ (Maalouf 2003, 81) Personalities like Ataturk and Nasser proclaimed themselfs as fathers of the new nations. These regimes were often secular and modernist

21 Changing Historical Conditions in the Arab Context IV. The end of the 20th century The collapse of the communist world „Marxism has lost ist attraction and Arab nationalism, annexed by regimes that are authoritarian, incompetent and corrupt, has lost much of ist credebility“ (Maalouf 2003, 89)

22 Islamism in the Global Age  „... all those who are not born with a limousine at their disposal, all those who want to shake up the established order or are revolted by corruption, state despotism, inequality, unemployment and lack of opportunity, all who have difficulty finding a place in a fast-changing world – all these are tempted by Islamism.“ (Maalouf 2003, 90)

23 Islamism in the Global Age „I see the religious communities as global tribes [...] belonging to a faith community is the most global and universal kind of particularism“ (Maalouf 2003, 93) belonging to an age, e.g. the global age  BEING A COEVAL

24 Kant‘s dynamics of explanation...  human nature human organism  needs  particular interessts  wishes human resaon  responsabilities  duties  dimension of historical development culture civilisations law morality transcendental bases of history

25 Maalouf‘s dynamics of explanation  human nature need to belong  to a social time  to a social group human aim  To overcome aspects of community based identitys in order to balance these with the global community today  dimension of historical development culture civilisations Acceptance of global contemporarity Transce- ental bases of history = acceptance of historical changes

26 The Central Idea  „Every individual should be able to identify, at least to some degree, both with the country he lives in and with our present-day world. This involves the adaption of certain habits and types of behaviour, not only by the individual himself, but also by the people around him, whether groups or other individuals.“ (Maalouf 2003, 159)

27 Eurocentrism: expression or false understanding of universality?  = the specific way of ethnocentrism emanating together with the European dominace in the World.  A set of scientifically proved criterias and categories for dealing with the others, constituting their particular inferiority Examples for the comparision of world regions in the 18th century  America is inferior to Africa due to the comparative short sature of the american flora and fauna  Asia is inferior to Europe, because it is old aged and exhausted  Africa is inferior to Europe due to its lack of civilisation Gerbi, Antonello. Dispute of the New World: The History of a Polemic, Trans. Jeremy Moyle. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 1973.

28 Subaltern Studies  Programme = „the searching for the reasons of the failure of national selffinding 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

29 Perspectives  „…refering to one‘s own subalternity in the age of globalisation 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


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