Rhetoric of Historical Discourse
106 | CCN: 77905
Date / Time: TuTh 930-11A, 215 DWINELLE
Rhetoric of the Historical Discourse
How can we still learn from the past? The course introduces to the history and theory of historical knowledge and the representation of the past across different media (scholarly writing, novels, exhibitions, film etc). For the first couple of weeks, we will work on a definition and understanding of historical representation and a method of historicization that does not privilege Western conceptions of history in the singular but allows for a multiplicity of different histories. We will analyze scientific and intellectual practices in historical discourse along with various attempts of appropriating the past, and study the modes of desire of relating to the past.
Throughout the semester, we will discuss how historical consciousness and historical have changed over the past three centuries. We will take a close look at premodern as well as modern, non-Western and Western classics in the writing of history and analyze the rhetorical and intellectual practices of the writing and representation of history.
The aim of the course is to develop a critical understanding of historical representation, engage with theoretical as well as historiographical texts as well as with practices of making historical knowledge.
Requirements: The course combines lecture, discussion, group exercises, and close-readings. Thus, attendance is mandatory; you will be dropped from the class if you are not present during the first two weeks. You are required to do the assigned readings and actively participate in our discussions (25%); there will be an early mid-term exam about the basic concepts and vocabulary (25%); you will have to write 2 short response papers to assigned readings (20%), and one 5-7 page final essay (30%). You can get extra credit for posting questions and short responses to our readings.
An evolving syllabus will be available on bCourses listing the topics and readings for each week as well as the due-dates for the assignments and the mid-term exam. Electronic versions of the readings will be available on bCourses. It is your responsibility to make sure that you can access and read them before you come to class.
Roland Barthes: Michelet
Dipesh Chakrabarty: Provincializing Europe
Michel de Certeau: The Writing of History
Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht: In 1926
Reinhart Koselleck: The Futures Past
Hans-Jörg Rheinberger: On Historicizing Epistemology
Hayden White: Metahistory