1st Edition

Engaging with the Past and Present The Relationship between Past and Present across the Disciplines

Edited By Paul M. Dover Copyright 2023
    248 Pages 36 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This collection brings together fifteen essays from practitioners of a variety of disciplines that concern themselves with the past, not only historians, but scholars from other branches of the humanities and social sciences (including theology, art history, public history, and archival science) and natural sciences (including geology, paleontology, astronomy, and paleoanthropology).

    What is the relationship between the past and the present? This essential and seemingly straightforward question, of central importance to many fields of study, in fact yields a variety of answers, with significant repercussions for methodology, epistemology, and pedagogy. This volume’s contributors describe how they relate phenomena in the past and their observations of the present, revealing intellectual resonances and opportunities for dialogue across subjects that are too often walled off from one another. By engaging scholars in a conversation about a first principle of their work, this book offers a genuinely interdisciplinary consideration of a timeless question, with implications for knowledge about both past and present.

    Engaging with the Past and Present is full of insights and ideas for anyone seeking to understand the past or employ it as evidence for understanding present realities.

      1. Engaging with the Past and the Present: an Introduction\

      Paul Dover

      Part 1: Past, Present and History

      2. Reflections on March Bloch's Maxim

      Felipe Brandi

      3. When Does the Present Become the Past?

      Jeremi Suri

      4. Does the Past Still Matter?

      Zoltán Boldizsár Simon

      5. The Big History of Past, Present and Future

      Craig Benjamin

      Part 2: Past, Present and Human Culture

      6. Historical Faith and Faithful History

      Nicolas Steeves, SJ

      7. Confucian Culture and the Imminence of the Past

      Yves Vendé

      8. Past, Present, and Heritage

      William Stoutamire

      9. The Continuum between the Past and Present: an Art Historian's View

      Gregory T. Clark

      10. Digging into the Human Past: Archeology, Time, and the Object

      Martin Porr

      11. Archives: Preserving the Documentary Past

      Randolph C. Head

      Part 3: Past, Present and Natural History

      12. Earth Time: Lessons from the "Boring Billions"

      Hilairy Hartnett

      13. The Past and Present in Environmental Science

      Ellen Wohl

      14. The Past and Present of the Cosmos

      David Garofalo

      15. Disengaging with the Past: Extinction and Resets of the Biosphere

      Roy Plotnick

      16. The Human Deep Past (Paleoanthropology)

      Deborah Olszewski


      Paul M. Dover is Professor of History at Kennesaw State University. He has published widely in early modern political and cultural history and in the history of information. His most recent book is The Information Revolution in Early Modern Europe (2021).