This book introduces a new way of looking at the writing of history. Rather than as the production of knowledge or the telling of stories, it sees writing history as an ethical, existential and emotional engagement with the people from the past. The conceptual and philosophical basis for this view is provided by the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas. In the first part, the view is presented and contrasted with other, competing views, such as those of Hans-Georg Gadamer and Michel Foucault. In the second part, the view is argued for, most importantly by an in-depth discussion of one specific tradition of history-writing (microhistory), and a series of close readings of several classical works from the history of historiography. The third part, finally, explores some of the methodological consequences of this view, and applies it to a non-academic way of dealing with the past, namely historical performance practice in music. The book features a foreword by Frank Ankersmit.
Table of Contents
Foreword Frank Ankersmit. Preface. Acknowledgments. Part I: The Possibility of an Ethical Perspective 1. On Ethics 2. Emmanuel Levinas 3. An Ethics of Representation 4. Hermeneutics, Post-Structuralism and Levinas Part II: The Plausibility of an Ethical Perspective Introduction to Part II 5. Experiencing the Past? 6. History With a Face: On Microhistory 7. Leaving the Laboratory: Levinas, Ethics and Experience in Other Ways of Writing History Part III: The Consequences of an Ethical Perspective 8. Virtues of History 9. Academic History, Public History and Historical Performance Practice in Music Conclusion Conclusion
Anton Froeyman is a post-doc in the Philosophy Department at Ghent University, Belgium.