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The Ethos of History: Time and Responsibility

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Volume 34

Making Sense of History

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The Ethos of History

Time and Responsibility

Edited by Stefan Helgesson and Jayne Svenungsson
Afterword by Hans Ruin

230 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-884-7 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (June 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-885-4 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“This volume offers much and important food for thought by describing the variety of the historical-theoretical debate and pointing out numerous open questions. It suggests focusing especially on concepts of time as well as ontological and epistemological uncertainty in historical thinking and perhaps to learn to appreciate these.” • Geschichte für Heute

“This well-written volume offers plenty of material for cultural and literary studies as it explores how to live with the past, and how the past lives in us.” • Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen, University of Oulu, Finland

“This book is very useful for understanding the relationship between ethos and temporality. In showing how ethical questions blur the boundary between past, present, and future, it represents an important contribution to the literature.” • Harry Jansen, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands


At a time when rapidly evolving technologies, political turmoil, and the tensions inherent in multiculturalism and globalization are reshaping historical consciousness, what is the proper role for historians and their work? By way of an answer, the contributors to this volume offer up an illuminating collective meditation on the idea of ethos and its relevance for historical practice. These intellectually adventurous essays demonstrate how ethos—a term evoking a society’s “fundamental character” as well as an ethical appeal to knowledge and commitment—can serve as a conceptual lodestar for history today, not only as a narrative, but as a form of consciousness and an ethical-political orientation.

Stefan Helgesson is Professor of English at Stockholm University. He is the author of Writing in Crisis: Ethics and History in Gordimer, Ndebele and Coetzee (2004) and Transnationalism in Southern African Literature (2009), has edited volume four of Literary History: Towards a Global Perspective (2006), and is co-editor (with Pieter Vermeulen) of Institutions of World Literature: Writing, Translation, Markets (2015).

Jayne Svenungsson is Professor of Systematic Theology at Lund University. She is the author of Divining History: Prophetism, Messianism, and the Development of the Spirit (2016), and has edited (with Alana M. Vincent and Elena Namli) Jewish Thought, Utopia and Revolution (2014) and (with Jonna Bornemark and Mattias Martinson) Monument and Memory (2015).

Subject: General History



Introduction: The Ethos of History
Stefan Helgesson and Jayne Svenungsson

Chapter 1. Towards a New Ethos of History
Aleida Assmann

Chapter 2. The Vampire, the Undead and the Anxieties of Historical Consciousness
Claudia Lindén and Hans Ruin

Chapter 3. History, Justice and the Time of the Imprescriptible
Victoria Fareld

Chapter 4. Narrating Pasts for Peace? A Critical Analysis of Some Recent Initiatives of Historical Reconciliation through ‘Historical Dialogue’ and ‘Shared History’
Berber Bevernage

Chapter 5. Psychoanalysis and the Indeterminacy of History
Joan W. Scott

Chapter 6. Does Time Have a Gender? Queer Temporality, Anachronism, and the Desire for the Past
Kristina Fjelkestam

Chapter 7. ‘The One Who Should Die Is the One Who Shall Live’: Prophetic Temporalities in Contemporary Colonial Brazil
Patricia Lorenzoni

Chapter 8. Radical Time in (Post)Colonial Narratives
Stefan Helgesson

Chapter 9. Engaged History
Marcia Sá Cavalcante Schuback

Chapter 10. Speakers for the Dead: Digital Memory and the Construction of Identity
Alana M. Vincent

Chapter 11. History Begins in the Future: On Historical Sensibility in the Age of Technology
Zoltán Boldizsár Simon

Hans Ruin


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