Posts Tagged ‘Historicity


Koselleck’s Futures Past

Reinhart Koselleck

Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time

Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies


·      What is historical time?

·      Seek out the linguistic organization of temporal experience wherever this surfaces in past reality

Xvi: “More generally, there is much common ground between Gadamer’s T&M and the basic, interpretative framework within which Koselleck moves.  Shared by T&M and these essays is the construction of a hermeneutic procedure that places understanding as a historical and experimental act in relation to entities which themselves possess historical force, as well as a point of departure in the experience of the work of art and the constitution of an aesthetics.  Gadamer elaborates aesthetic experience by examining the development of the concept Erlebnis, or experience in the sense of lived encounter.  This term was developed in response to Enlightenment rationalism and is characteristic of an aesthetics centered upon the manifestation of the ‘truth’ of a work of art through the experience of the subject.  Gadamer then asks: what kind of knowledge is produced in this way?  There is a discontinuity between modern philosophy and the classical tradition: the development of a historical consciousness in the 19th century made philosophy aware of its own historical formation, creating a break in the Western tradition of an incremental path to knowledge that had hitherto shaped philosophical discussion.  Koselleck takes up this problem and presents it as a historical, rather than philosophical, question: What kind of experience is opened up by the emergence of modernity?”

1: “The sources of the past do inform us about thoughts and deeds, plans and events, but they provide no direct indication of historical time.”

3:  “All testimony answers to the problem of how, in a concrete situation, experiences come to terms with the past; how expectations, hopes, or prognoses that are projected into the future become articulated into language.  These essays will constantly ask: how, in a given present, are the temporal dimensions of past and future related?”

4: “Methodologically, these studies direct themselves to the semantics of central concepts in which historical experience of time is implicated.  Here, the collective concept ‘History,’ coined in the 18th century, has preeminent meaning.”


Jameson’s Postmodernism

Postmodernism, or, The Logic of Late Capitalism
Fredric Jameson

Area: Rhetorical and Critical Theory
Methodology: Marxist theory; critical theory
Argument: Jameson forwards the idea of historicity, the perception of the present as history.  He argues that history is related to the present which somehow defamiliarizes it and allows us that distance from immediacy which is as length characterized as a historical perspective (284).
Postmodernism is an attempt to think of the present historically; PoMoism is also the consumption of sheer commodification as a process
PoMoism might illustrate the end of one of Lyotard’s “master narratives” (*return to this idea when reading Lyotard)
-“The return of the narrative as the narrative at the end of narratives, this return of history in the midst of the prognosis of the demise of historical telos, suggests a second feature of PoMoism theory which requires attention, namely, the way in which virtually any observation about the present can be mobilized in the very search for the present itself and pressed into service as a symptom and an index of the deeper logic of the PoMo, which imperceptibly turns into its own theory and the theory of itself” (xii).
“PoMo” = the production of PoMo people capable of functioning in a very particular sociological world (xv)
Bearing the universal weight of a representative particular, turning back into the work which isn’t supposed to exist in the PoMo
Freudian retroactivity? (*return to this when reading Freud)
Possible definition of Late Capitalism: falls somewhere between Hegel’s “essential cross-section” and Althusser’s “structure in dominance”
Chapter 9: Nostalgia for the Present
Major question: Did the 50s see themselves as the 50s?
Marcuse’s “false happiness” = cultural representations
What real life is and what is mere appearance (280)
-Its own representation of itself
-the sense people have of themselves and their own moment of history may ultimately have nothing whatsoever to do with its reality
So…is there such a thing as history?  Further, can we imagine the future at all?
Historicity is the apprehension of that present as the past of a specific future.
Formal apparatus of nostalgia films has trained us to consume the past
If PoMoism is to think of the present historically, what does this to do the future (as Jameson already asked…)?  I see some strong connections with Deleuze.  If we’re thinking of the present in terms of a specific history (Jameson), then we’re preserving the past in that present moment (Deleuze).  *More connections will obviously come with more reading.,,

July 2017
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