between time and narrative has been much discussed both in narrative
theory and in philosophy. Language and narrative in particular, are
considered to be pivotal not only for our understanding of time and
temporality, but also for its very conception. What is more, narrative
has been claimed to play a crucial role in the very construction of the
human idea of time. The lecture offers an introduction to this
discussion of the idea of “narrative time.”
formalists first introduced the concepts of fabula and sjuzhet to
distinguish the elemental sequential succession of events in a story,
the fabula, from their particular narrative composition and
presentation, the sjuzhet. This distinction has run through the history
of narratology, with the original terms replaced for some time now by
the concepts of story and discourse. These concepts have established
not only two different orders of narrative, but also two different
spheres of time, story time and discourse time. Whereas story time
corresponds to the traditional model of Newtonian time, discourse time
establishes a less restricted sphere. These two temporal orders
represent the two major levels of the analysis of narrative time in the
study of narrative.
The question being
posed in the lecture is, however, whether this model of narrative time
is applicable to all forms and practices of narrative, including those
forms of temporality that emerge, for example, in the peculiar
constructions of autobiographical narrative and “autobiographical
time.” Can we really be so sure that all narrative forms and practices
of temporalization are to be modelled on Newtonian time, as postulated
by traditional conceptions of narrative time? Is the ontological idea
of time as a chronological and homogeneous background of all events and
experiences able to capture those forms of narrative temporalization
that are characteristic of many twentieth-century literary approaches
to phenomena of consciousness, mind, and memory?
Seminar: Time and
2009. Stories to remember: Narrative and the time of memory.
Storyworlds: A Journal of Narrative Studies, 1 (1), 117-132.
2003. Chronology, time, tense and experientiality in narrative.
Language and Literature, 12, 117-134.
2006. Making time: Narrative temporality in twentieth-century
literature and theory. Literature Compass, 3 (3), 603–612.
1980. Narrative time. Critical Inquiry, 7 (1), 169-190.
Understanding Religion in Modern Europe: the Factors to Take into
recently published work, this lecture introduces a series of factors
that are currently shaping the religious life of Europe. These factors
not only change and adapt over time, they push and pull in different
directions. The six factors are: cultural heritage, vicarious
religious, a shift from obligation to consumption, new arrivals,
secular reactions, and a growing awareness that with respect to
religion Europe is an exceptional case in global terms. Each of these
factors will be developed in some detail. Careful attention will also
be paid to post-communist narrative. The lecture concludes by making a
cautious prediction about the possible future(s) of religion in Europe.
Understanding Religion in Modern Europe: the Factors to Take into
Comparison of the Religion Situation in Europe and the United States
Davie, Grace; Fokas, Effie 2008. Religious America, Secular Europe.
Farhham, Ashgate (chapters 1, 2 and one other chapter assigned by the
2006a. Is Europe an exceptional case? The Hedgehog Review, 8 (1/2),
2006b. Religion in Europe in the 21st century: The factors to take into
account. Archives européennes de sociologie/European Journal of
Sociology/Europaeisches Archiv für Soziologie, XLVII/2, 271-96.
Lecture: How Do We
Know How Old Things Are?
do we make about things, when we ask about their age? To be able to
tell how old things are, we need to be able to identify a point of
origin. The definition of an origin, however, already carries with it
an idea of completion. For example, to date an artefact to the time
when it was made is to make a clear distinction between the changes
undergone by its constituent materials up to the point of completion –
when they fell into the form intended for it – and the changes they
subsequently undergo in processes of use and subsequent decomposition.
Here, I challenge this distinction. Focusing on the flow and
transmutation of materials rather than the final forms of artefacts, I
argue that in a world undergoing continuous birth – in which things are
originating all the time, and in which all making is using – we cannot
tell how old things are. What we can do, however, is tell their
stories, by following the temporal trajectories of their ongoing
Seminar: Time and
There are many
ways of talking about, and representing, the passage of generations.
Ancestors may be placed at the base of a tree, from which descendants
branch out, or the tree may be contrived to grow downwards, from
ancestors in the branches to descendants at the base. Alternatively,
lines of descent may be imagined to flow like a running river. In all
such depictions, however, descent-lines are understood as trajectories
of life and growth, along which each generation begets the next. These
lines are cut by the formal genealogies of anthropological science,
which compress every generation into a point and reconstruct every line
of descent as a diachronic succession of such points. The genealogical
model is not however confined to anthropology, but is embedded in
thinking about time and events across a range of disciplines, from
evolutionary biology to history and linguistics. The re-merging of
lines of life with lines of descent has major implications for our
understanding of evolution, history and language.
1996. Family trees and their affinities: the visual imperative of the
genealogical diagram. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
(N.S.) 2: 43-66.
Ingold, Tim 2009.
Stories against classification: transport, wayfaring and the
integration of knowledge’. In Kinship and Beyond: The Genealogical
Model Reconsidered, eds. S. Bamford and J. Leach. Oxford: Berghahn, pp.
193-213 (available on Google Books).
Christiane 1991. The genesis of the family tree. Tatti Studies: Essays
in the Renaissance 4 (1), 105-29.
2002. The life of family trees and the Book of Icelanders. Medical
Anthropology 21 (3/4), 337-67.
Scientific Communication and Media Semiotics
Wuppertal; University of Applied Sciences Südwestfalen, Germany
Culture-Time and Media-Time. Cognitive basics, Media Myths and Why the
Computer Screen is just another Cave Wall
Time is an
essential concept in culture, and the “speed” of culture, i.e., its
metre, cycle, or clock has always been measured against a culture’s
ability to support human activity by adequate means of technology. This
has led philosophers such as Paul Virilio to the hypothesis that
culture as such is “speeding up”. Virilio coined the term “dromology”
for this phenomenon. A number of myths on the potentials of technology
have emerged from the general acceptance of “techne” to have such
obvious impact on culture, and some of the most important innovations
in technology serve as markers of rifts, or ruptures, in cultural
history that equal cultural revolutions. Among these are especially
those changes initiated by media technology; such as the invention of
alphabetical writing, the advent of the Gutenberg press, or the
introduction of computer technology in the average household.
On the other end
of the discourse, we find scholars such as Ernst Cassirer, who insisted
that technology and culture are rather complementary elements of
potential and realisation of needs and possibilities, or Umberto Eco,
who reminds us of the fact that the impact of technology on culture has
always been a gradual one.
Returning to the
problem of understanding the question of cultural speed, we may review
our understanding of media “speeding up” culture and try a
semiotic-cognitive course, namely to try and understand if the human
competence for grasping an environment, or Umwelt, and the human
potential for creating conceptual worlds in the mind have changed.
Maybe all we are faced with is short-cuts provided by technology, not
really an inherently changed rhythm of time in culture?
The lecture will
elaborate on some of the most popular and important concepts on the
development and “change” of culture-time through media, and elaborate
on the discourse about stability of temporality in culture versus media
revolutionising our cultural concepts of time.
Reassessed: An Analysis of the Acceleration of Culture
In the seminar, we
shall explore which cultural processes are actually affected by changes
in media technology, and to which extent this affects temporality of
Bolter, J. David
1991. Writing space: The computer, hypertext, and the history of
writing. Hillsdale, NJ: L. Erlbaum Associates, pp. 1-3, 15-31 (chapters
1 and 2: “Introduction”, “The Computer as a New Writing Space”).
1967. Understanding media: The extensions of man. London: Sphere Books,
pp. 19-45 (Introduction, chapters 1 and 2: “The Medium Is the Message”;
“Media Hot and Cold”).
1982. The disappearance of childhood. New York: Delacorte Press, pp.
3-36 (chapters 1 and 2: “When There Were No Children”, “The Printing
Press and the New Adult”).
Ruin, Hans 2011
(in print). Technology as destiny in Cassirer and Heidegger -
Continuing the Davos Debate. in: Hoel, Aud Sissel (ed.), Form and
Technology: Reading Ernst Cassirer from the present.
1986. Speed and politics : An essay on dromology. New York:
Semiotext(e), pp. 61-79 (chapters 1 and 2: “From Space Right to State
Right”, “Practical War”).
Physical and Experiential
in discussions about spacetime, many people automatically assume that
space and time are something objectively given and external to the
self. This may be suggestive of the possibility that our Western
educational system is still too tightly connected to Newtonian views.
After all, ever since Einstein’s days, it should be clear that time and
space are not absolutes. Moreover, as anyone can testify from personal
experience – time can “speed up” (e.g., when one is with a group of
good friends, having a beer or two) and “slow down” (e.g., when one has
nothing to do and boredom sneaks in).
It is precisely
these “speeding ups” and “slowing downs” that I shall be discussing in
my lecture. I will argue – on the basis of Kantian analysis and
phenomenology of certain altered states of consciousness (ASC-s) – that
space and time are not external, let alone absolute categories. Rather,
space and time form an inner matrix that helps us orient ourselves as
we travel through our ongoing experience.
In order to
understand to what extent and how these matrices govern our experience
of both the world and of ourselves, it is useful to look into states
during which the perception of space and time is significantly
different from that of baseline waking reality. For these purposes, I
shall use the example of deep meditative and mystical states and
concepts such as the Eternal Now (timelessness) and No-Self
States of Consciousness and Mental Health
focuses on the question of a possible link between ASC-s and mental
illness. It is doubtlessly true that there are several significant
parallels between what takes place in consciousness during ASC-s and,
say, during certain psychotic episodes or temporal lobe epilepsy. We
shall be discussing the boundaries of these connections, trying to see
if there is room for strongly altered yet fully healthy states
(especially in relation to our perception of space and time).
To prepare for the
seminar, the participants are to read at least three of the texts
G.; Newberg, Andrew B. 2000. The Neuropsychology of Aesthetic,
Spiritual, and Mystical States. Zygon 35 (1), 39-51.
Lee , Bruce Y.;
Newber, Andrew B. 2005. Religion and Health: a Review and Critical
Analysis. Zygon 40 (2), 443-468.
D. 2003. Jung, Spirits and Madness: Lessons for Cultural Psychiatry.
Transcultural Psychiatry 40 (2), 164-180.
Saver, Jeffrey L.;
Rabin, John 1997. The Neural Substrates of Religious Experience.
Journal of Neuropsychiatry 9 (3), 498-510.
Pütz, Peter; Allefeld, Carsten 2008. Ganzfeld-Induced Hallucinatory
Experience, its Phenomenology and Cerebral Electrophysiology. Cortex 44
Cultural Theory, Professor of Estonian Literature
University, University of Tartu, Estonia
begins with a question articulated by Keya Ganguly: “How does time
signify in postcolonial analysis?” First, the much-debated prefix
“post“ in “postcolonialism” requires close and careful discussion of
the qualities of “time-after“ and “aftermath“, the conjuncture of hopes
with persistent, haunting legacies of colonial structures and
practices. Interestingly, the problematics of cultural memory are often
left out of such discussions, though many models from “memory studies”
would be useful and pertinent. Second (and implicit in the first
question) is the formulation of postcolonial time as “future-time“,
recognizing the temporal structures latent in revolution and the
founding of “new nations“ after the empire. What do concepts such as
“future” and “future anterior” mean in these contexts? Third,
temporality and postcoloniality are connected through the problematics
of “modernization” or “becoming modern”, which in turn calls for a
precise articulation of concepts such as “cultural acceleration”, “lag”
and “catching up”.
analysis of the conceptualization of time in postcolonial theories and
selections from literary texts, we will strive in the seminar to move
beyond mere metaphorics to a cogent and substantive analysis of the
relations of temporality and postcoloniality.
Temporality and Postcoloniality
Bhabha, Homi. K.
2000. The Location of Culture. London, Routledge, pp. 212-235, 236-256
(the chapters, “How Newness Enters the World” and “Conclusion”).
1940. Theses on the Philosophy of History.
2002. Temporality and postcolonial critique. In: Lazarus, N (ed.). The
Cambridge Companion to Postcolonial Literary Studies, pp. 162-179.
Midnight`s Children (mandatory excerpts: pp. 3-53, 231-249).
of History, Associate Professor of Art History
of Arts, Estonia
Temporality and the Visual Arts
accepted categorization of the arts divides them into spatial and
temporal arts. This can be traced back to Leonardo da Vinci, who
stressed in his “Paragon” the differences between the painting as
spatial and the poem as temporal. From a much earlier period, however –
the 1st century BC – we find Horace’s famous sentence, ut pictura
poesis – as poetry, so painting. Are the visual arts, then, capable of
picturing time and temporality, and if yes then by what means?
Contemporary theory tends to view the work of art as existing in a
spatial-temporal unity. Attempts to express temporal (and spatial)
relations can already be found in images produced in Ancient Greece,
Byzantium, the Western Middle Ages and so on. In this lecture, we shall
discuss some works from different periods, in order to explore the
visual strategies that were used to „make time visible“, and their
relations to the ideas and social practices of the period. This
inevitably brings us to the issue of the pictures as actors or agents,
to the “power of images”. Does this “power” mutate during the course of
history and what are the causes of transformation? What does Mieke Bal
mean by saying that „time tends to infuse narrativity into the objects
The last point we
will briefly touch upon is concerned with the problem of the work of
art as emblematic of its time. The issue of the coherence of time and
art production has attracted art historians since the Enlightenment and
is continuing to do so. Is art really „time’s visible surface“, as it
was claimed by Alois Riegl a century ago?
Temporality and the Visual Arts
In this seminar,
we shall discuss some works from different periods, in order to explore
the visual strategies that were used to „make time visible“, and their
relations to the ideas and social practices of the period.
2010. Space, Time, and Presence in the Icon. Seeing the World with the
Eyes of God. Ashgate, pp. 103-155 (chapter 4: „Seeing the World with
the Eyes of God“: an Alternative Explanation of „Reverse Perspective“).
Bal, Mieke, 1999.
Quoting Caravaggio: Contemporary Art, Preposterous History. Chicago,
University of Chicago Press, pp. 165-189 (chapter 6: “Second-Person
2006. Time’s Visible Surface. Alois Riegl and the Discourse of History
and Temporality in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna. Detroit, Wayne State
University Press, pp. 151-177 (chapters 9 and 10: “Temporality in
Visible Form”, “Seeing Time in The Group Portraiture of Holland”).
2003. Narrative. In: Nelson, Robert S.; Shiff, Richard (eds). Critical
terms for art history. Chicago & London, University of Chicago
Press, pp. 62-74 (available on Google Books).
Modern European Literature
„Nationalism is the Political Instrumentalization of a Cultural
Self-image“: Imagology and Nationalism Studies
Imagology has been
traditionally concerned with cross-cultural perceptions and
stereotyping. This lecture will sketch some recent developments in
imagological studies, especially the study of national self-images.
Leerssen, Joep (eds) 2007. Imagology. Amsterdam, Rodopi, pp.17-32,
335-344 (two sections: “Imagology: History and method“,
2000. The Rhetoric of National Character: A Programmatic Survey.
Poetics Today, 21 (2), 267-292.
Seminar: The Rise of
Literary Historicism and National Consciousness-raising
begin in the cultural arena, with a new interest in vernacular cultural
traditions which as a result are invested with prestige and national
appeal. This romantic prelude to nationalism appears to be a generally
2004. Literary Historicism: Romanticism, Philologists and the Presence
of the Past. Modern Language Quarterly 65 (2), 221-243.
2006. Nationalism and the Cultivation of Culture. Nations and
Nationalism, 12 (4), 559-578.
Modern German Literature
Lecture: How Real Is
Seminar: How Time
Works in Narratives
of Political Philosophy
Identity – Identification with the Dead?
Michael Ignatieff, “reporters in the Balkan wars often observed that
when they were told atrocity stories they were occasionally uncertain
whether these stories had occurred yesterday or 1941, or 1841, or
1441”. National identities are identities embodying historical
continuity. In the words of David Miller, one of the most prominent
contemporary defenders of nationalism, national communities are
communities that “stretch back and forward across the generations”. For
Miller, it follows that they are special kinds of ethical communities
the present members of which identify with, and bear responsibility
for, the deeds of the dead members of their nation. The lecture will
discuss the conceptual and moral psychological implications of this
idea. What does it mean for an individual to accept the idea of
belonging to a nation? How does it relate to the idea of citizenship
and that of political communities as arguably based on a corporate
identity, of which both living and dead members partake? What role do
emotions like pride, envy, guilt, and shame play in national
identification? How are we to understand the underlying conception of
temporality in this identification? What are the moral implications and
moral status of this identification?
Nationalism and Duties to the Past
This seminar will
focus on the moral implications of the idea that nations are historical
and ethical communities. David Miller states that the present members
of a nation are obliged towards the dead ones: “Because our forbears
have toiled and spilt their blood to build and defend the nation, we
who are born into it inherit an obligation to continue their work.”
Miller argues that this idea is compatible with liberal morality. We
will discuss the moral status and implications of the emotions
underpinning the idea of national identity. Does our emotional
identification with the nation as a historic community entail national
responsibility and special duties to the past? What is the difference
between national and political responsibility? How can dead persons
demand something from us? What would duties to the past consist in? Are
there any intergenerational projects that each new generation is
obliged to carry on? What are the implications of this for the
relationship of time, history and (liberal) morality?
Gottfried 2004 . Do We Still Have the Fatherland of the Ancients?
In: Herder, J. G. Another Philosophy of History and Selected Political
Writings. Indianapolis, Hackett, pp. 109-117.
2001. The Question of German Guilt. New York, Fordham University Press,
pp. 21-44, 73-75 (Introduction, “Scheme of Distinctions”, “Individual
Awareness of Collective Guilt”).
1995. On Nationality. Oxford, Clarendon Press, pp. 17-47 (chapter
2007. Patriotism and the Obligations of History. In: Primoratz, I.;
Pavković, A. (eds). Patriotism. Philosophical and Political
Perspectives. Aldershot, Ashgate, 2007, pp. 147-160.
Cultural Theory and East Asian Cultural History
of Time in Asian and European Thought Traditions
Seminar: The Concept
of Time in Asian and European Thought Traditions
Senior Lecturer of
Lecture: Concepts of
Time in Feature Films
with a survey of the concepts of time in different epochs and cultures
(with an emphasis on the non-Newtonian approaches), various ways of
portraying time in cinema will be discussed, in addition to the obvious
linear one, i.e.
1) cyclical (when
the same time frame is repeated over and over again, as in the 1993
American comedy, “The Groundhog Day”);
2) time travel
(including flashbacks and flashforwards), such as the American sci-fi
adventure trilogy, “Back to the Future” (1985-90);
3) time going
backwards, such as “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (2008);
4) time warp, when
past and present run simultaneously (as in the final sequence of Andrei
Tarkovsky's “Mirror”, filmed in 1974); and
5) when all or
most of the above possibilities run almost concurrently, as in the 1973
film, “Hourglass Sanatorium” by the Polish director Wojciech Has.
Seminar: Concepts of
Time in Feature Films
For the seminar,
students will be requested to select one film (either from the titles
below, or any other of their choice) and prepare a 5-7 min long
presentation on the function and significance of time sequences / time
frame in that film.
1983. Cinema 1: The Movement-Image. London, The Athlone Press, pp.
56-70, 141-77, 197-218 (chapters 4, 9, 10 and 12: “The movement-image
and its three varieties. Second commentary on Bergson”, “The
action-image. The large form”, “The action-image. The small form”, “The
crisis of the action-image”).
1989. Sculpting in Time. University of Texas Press, pp. 57-59, 62-63,
1989. Cinema 2: The Time-Image. London: The Athlone Press.
for viewing prior to the lecture/seminar:
Christopher Nolan, 2001)
(dir. Gaspar Noe, 2002)
“The Curious Case
of Benjamin Button” (dir. David Fincher, 2008)
“Happy End” (dir.
Oldrich Lipsky, 1967)
Sanatorium” (dir. Wojciech Has, 1973)
Andrei Tarkovsky, 1974)
“Back to the
Future” I-III (dir. Robert Zemeckis, 1985-90)
Day” (dir. Harold Ramis, 1993)
Senior Fellow /
Professor emeritus of General History and Historical Culture
Advanced Study in the Humanities, Essen / University of
Visibility of History: Bridging the Gap between Historiography and the
visibility of history – thinking with the eyes
Bann, Stephen 1990. The invention of history. Essays on the
representation of the past. Manchester, Manchester University Press,
pp. 122-147 („Views of the Past“: reflections on the treatment of
historical objects and museums of history).
Erwin Panofsky's explanation of Iconography and Iconology. Available:
Rüsen, Jörn 2005. The visibility of history – Bridging the gap between
Historiography and the Fine Arts. Historein: a review of the past and
other stories 5, 130-141.
Rüsen, Jörn 2006. Sense of History: What does it mean? With an Outlook
onto Reason and Senselessness. In: Rüsen, Jörn (Ed.). Meaning and
Representation in History (Making Sense of History. Studies in
Historical Cultures, vol. 7). New York, Berghahn Books, pp. 40-64.
Rüsen, Jörn 2009. Emotional Forces in Historical Thinking - Some
Meta-historical Reflections and the Case of Mourning.
Professor of Cultural History, Senior Research Fellow
Lecture: What Is
Historical Time, or How Do Historians Make Sense of Time?
It can be said
that the main theme of the historian’s work is making time
intelligible. In order to do that, he uses various techniques, like
articulating, giving rhythm, sequencing, periodization, etc., of time,
and last but not least – narrativizing it. Simultaneously, time is also
one of the main explanatory devices in the historian’s work: each
historian attempts to understand the phenomenon he is studying ‘in its
own time’, creating a temporal ‘context’ in order to explain the object
of his study.
In view of the
central role of time in historiography, it would seem particularly
important to analyse all the devices used by a historian in making
sense of time. Nevertheless, this subject has to date attracted only
meagre systematic attention from professional historians, as well as
from theoreticians of history, although an increase of interest has
been obvious in recent years. Therefore, it seems to me that it is time
to call to life a poetics of historical time that would help to better
understand how, in the end, the phenomenon called ‘historical time’
does come into being in historians’ works. By the poetics of historical
time, I mean one important branch of the poetics of history that
focuses more specifically on analyzing the use of time categories in
In my lecture, I
shall discuss the question, how the notion of ‘historical time’ comes
about. How do historians construct time for themselves; how do they
measure, articulate and use it? More precisely, I shall analyse the
categories of time and their construction in history writing, making a
distinction between two levels of historical time: 1) the
epistemological level, where it is possible to speak about constructing
‘the time of history’ (chronology, periodization); and 2) the
historiographical level, where it is possible to speak about
constructing ‘the time of the historian’ (the time of the utterance,
and the time of uttering).
Time and Historical Time: Some Recent Debates
The aim of the
seminar is to read and discuss some major contributions to the recent
debate on the construction and development of historical time. We shall
analyse different ways to study the history of historical time and
varied regimes of historicity, and explore the work of Reinhart
Koselleck, François Hartog and Peter Burke.
Burke, Peter 2004.
Reflections on the Cultural History of Time. Viator 35, 617–626.
2005. Time and Heritage. Museum International 57 (3), 7–18.
Reinhart 2002. Time and History. In: Koselleck, Reinhart. Practice of
Conceptual History. Timing History, Spacing Concepts. Stanford,
Stanford University Press, 2002, pp. 100–114.
Reinhart 2004. Modernity and the Planes of Historicity. In: Koselleck,
Reinhart. Futures Past. On the Semantics of Historical Time. New York,
Columbia University Press, pp. 9–25.
Temporalities and Historical Understanding: Thinking Historically
within the Postmodern Condition
that human existence participates in, and is shaped by, multiple
temporalities has informed the production of historical consciousness
in the Christian West at least since the time of Saint Augustine. The
conviction that the discovery or creation of narrative meaning could
organize and resolve the tensions between the subjective “time of the
soul” and the objective “time of the world” ( in Paul Ricoeur’s famous
formulation), or that historical consciousness could somehow provide a
unifying significance and a living presence for the fragmentary traces
of an always absent past, however, has been severely tested by both the
proliferation of radically different, apparently incommensurable
temporalities and the collapse of belief in any metaphysical
foundations that might sustain a unifying narrative tying the past to
the present and future. In this lecture I will examine some of the
issues that inform the recent iteration of this ongoing crisis of
historical consciousness in the tensions between “modernist” and
“postmodernist” conceptions of temporality and history, Three general
questions will inform the discussion,. First: What are the core
differences between modernist and postmodernist configurations of
temporality and history? Does the postmodernist critique simply
represent a critical revision of modernist assumptions or does it
articulate an epochal break that undermines all previous forms of
historical consciousness and perhaps even the concept of historical
consciousness itself? Second, does the postmodern focus on foundational
difference and on the autonomy of narrative construction create an
insurmountable barrier to all attempts to speak with the dead, to give
new form to historical memory and to unveil the material presence of
the past in the present; or might this perspective simply recreate the
presence of the past in different form? Finally: How might the
postmodern critique of historical consciousness as the producer of
illusory identities from the experiential ground of primary difference
allow for the mobilization of individual and collective wills and for
the building of narrative meanings around which contemporaries can
organize their affiliations or produce norms of ethical interaction?
Could postmodern historical consciousness be imagined as the foundation
of new kind of rhizomatic cosmopolitan community (which includes the
up the Presence of the Past: Resurrecting the Dead as Partners in
Constructing the History of the Present
In an era when it
seems that the non-academic world has embraced the possibility of
experiencing the actual tangible reality of the past in forms ranging
from the repetition and working-through of Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder, to the serious amusements of historical theme parks,
historical novels or interactive video games, it might be timely for
historians and historical philosophers to re-examine the postmodern
focus on linguistic form, narrative construction, textuality and
representational mediation as the essential informing elements in the
shaping of historical consciousness. Through the careful reading and
discussion of a few short texts from both the modernist and
postmodernist perspective, I would like to stimulate a discussion of
the ongoing relevance of experiential, affective, tangible and
ultimately “dialogical” or interactive relations with an encountered
“real” past, and pursue the question of whether such a relation is an
important element in sustaining a critical and inclusive historical
consciousness in the present. The classic modernist texts by Freud and
Benjamin raise (with a moral and intellectual intensity that can help
us interact with their own posthumous vital otherness) the issue of the
past as a living presence in the present, both individually and
collectively. Greg Dening’s short piece on the practice of historical
displacement which he names “historying”, Dominick LaCapra’s reworking
of Freud’s essay, and my own review of a recent anthology of postmodern
“Manifestos” open up questions of the relationship between empathy and
critique, between autonomous creativity and recognition of the
irreducible difference in the narrative projects of others, between
identity politics and ethical action. Such issues inform the mnemonic
practice or the production of historical consciousness in our own
worlds and temporalities. Is it possible that listening to and feeling
the presence of the past, as the other that still lives within us, is
just as important for the expansion of our own historical consciousness
as affirming our own freedom in remaking the past through narratives
that can sustain us in shaping the actions that mark our choices for
1940. Theses on the Philosophy of History.
Dening, Greg 2007.
Performing cross-culturally. In: Jenkins, Keith; Morgan, Sue; Munslow,
Alun. Manifestos for History. Routledge, pp. 98-107.
1914. Recollection, Repetition and Working Through.
2004. History Psychoanalysis, Critical Theory. In: LaCapra, Dominick.
History in transit: experience, identity, critical theory. New York,
Cornell University Press, pp. 72-105 (excerpts).
Toews, John E.
2009. Manifesting, Producing, and Mobilizing Historical Consciousness
in the 'Postmodern Condition'. History and Theory 48, 257-275.
University of Göttingen, Germany
Lecture: Concepts of
Temporality and Spaciality in Music
“Time and space
are modes by which we think and not conditions in which we live”
Thinking about music seems to always imply thinking about time. Any
piece of music has its beginning and ending and devotes the listener to
its own time. While, for example, it is the observer’s decision how
much time he or she devotes to a painting, listeners to music seem are
at the mercy of the music or at least of the musicians. Music therefore
seems to be closely related to concepts of time and temporality.
Time, however, is
highly relative in music, since it is closely related to matters of
perception. One of the most iconic pieces in 20th century music, John
Cage’s »4’33« is a striking example for this. The duration of this
piece is clearly indicated: it lasts 4 minutes and 33 seconds, and what
the listeners hear during this time is – silence. There is no chance to
perceive how time is passing.
Cage’s »4’33« is a
radical questioning of music’s entity. Cage so to speak asks, “When is
music?” And since it is impossible to perceive silence e.g. in a
crowded concert hall he also asks, “Where is music?” Thinking of music
therefore also implies thinking about space.
In my lecture, I
will focus on three musical examples of Western art music that deal
with different concepts of temporality and spatiality in music: one
taken from the early Renaissance, one from the Baroque period and one
of early 20th century. By comparing these respective concepts, I will
try to dismantle certain modes of thinking about time and space in
and Musical Analysis. Problems of Time and Structure
In his essay,
“Time in Twentieth Century Music” (cf. the reading materials), Belgian
musicologist Mark Delaere points out the difficulty of analyzing
temporal aspects of music. Most of the theoretical and analytical
literature related to Western art music deals with pitch independently
of temporal factors, he states. Taking this as a stimulus, we will
examine in this seminar some musical examples with special emphasis on
their temporal structures. In doing so, we will also have to deal with
narrative structures in music. There will be time in the seminar for
some listening experiments that shall make clear how important temporal
structures are to music. Different from Delaere the examples will not
be taken from the repertoire of 20th century western art music.
2009. Tempo, Metre, Rhythm. Time in Twentieth-Century Music. In:
Crispin, D. (ed). Unfolding Time. Studies on Temporality in
Twentieth-Century Music. Leuven University Press, pp. 13-43.
2004. Chopin's Fourth Ballade as Musical Narrative. Music Theory
Spectrum 26 (1) (Spring, 2004), 23-55.
Lippman, Edward A.
1984. Progressive Temporality in Music. The Journal of Musicology 3 (2)
(Spring, 1984), 121-141.