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Geisteswissenschaftliches Kolloquium "Katharina Böhm (FRIAS): Tangible Histories. Emplacing the Past in the Early Eighteenth Century"

When Nov 25, 2013
from 12:15 PM to 01:00 PM
Where FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, large room
Contact Name
Contact Phone 0761 203 97362
Attendees universitätsoffen
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This paper presents research-in-progress on some of the ways in which cultural concepts of history and practices of historical inquiry changed in the early eighteenth century as antiquaries and literary writers turned their attention to the material, tangible past. During this period unprecedented efforts were made by antiquaries to preserve, exhibit and study systematically material artefacts and historical monuments. Meanwhile, the much improved transportation system boosted the growth of domestic tourism.  My paper explores how influential antiquarian and literary writers, such as William Stukeley and Daniel Defoe, attempted to establish the historical contexts of many newly discovered, material vestiges of the past by ‘emplacing’ these artefacts. I use the term ‘emplacement’ to refer to rhetorical and pictorial practices that tethered the historical meaning of a specific artefact to the local landscape in which it was embedded, as well as to the distant places to which this artefact was linked in antiquarian debates. My paper shows that for Stukeley and Defoe thinking about the past as a phenomenon that could be conceived in spatial rather than primarily temporal terms raised a number of important questions: How do objects ‘materialize’ different pasts and different models of history? How do processes of locating an historical artefact – and locating this artefact vis-à-vis a subject – translate the temporal into the spatial, or the spatial into the temporal, as one form of distance shifts into another? How do certain literary and antiquarian practices produce – and how are they in turn produced by – different geographical scales of historical thought?