Historical Discourse Analysis: The Entanglement of Past and Present

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    Most of history is forgetting. In fact, as Paul Ricoeur reminds us: “There is forgetting wherever there had been a trace. [. . .] Forgetting is the emblem of the vulnerability of the historical condition taken as a whole”. One reason why human individuals and cultures forget is the sheer fact that there is too much to re-member, and that we have learned to perceive pragmatically and selectively. Our brains are geared to delete and destroy information; otherwise we would be lost in an avalanche of data that needs to be processed. Likewise, the lives of humans and non-humans produce a huge amount of traces that subsequent generations may or may not find, read, and engage with. Most of those traces go unnoticed. When later generations notice certain traces, their status changes from traces to sources. They become data, carriers of meaning for people who look back at the past. Most often, people read these sources as meaningful indicators of a coherent line of events that ultimately lead to their own present time. Thus history provides meaning for the present.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationReligion and Discourse Research
    Subtitle of host publicationDisciplinary Use and Interdisciplinary Dialogues
    EditorsJay Johnston, Kocku von Stuckrad
    Place of PublicationBerlin & Boston
    PublisherDe Gruyter
    Number of pages12
    ISBN (Electronic)978-3-11-047264-6
    ISBN (Print)978-3-11-047005-5
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


    • Discoursre Ressearch
    • Discursive Study of Religion
    • Historical Discoourse Analysis

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