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Introduction: The Varieties of Historical Experience

Stewart, C; Palmié, S; (2019) Introduction: The Varieties of Historical Experience. In: Palmié,, Stephan and Stewart, Charles, (eds.) The Varieties of Historical Experience. Routledge: London, UK. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

In this chapter we map out an interdisciplinary approach to historical experience, understood as the affects and sensations activated when people, in a given present, enter into relationship with the past. In the nineteenth century, professional historiography arose by embracing principles of the scientific method such as rationality, impartiality and a dispassionate approach to research, thereby displacing genres such as poetry, art, and literary fiction that had previously conveyed knowledge of the past in more sublime modes. While the dichotomy between subjective empathy and objective understanding continued to be negotiated within the history profession, in wider society people continued to engage in all manner of sensory relationships with the past including spiritualism, psychometry and occasional bouts of Stendhal Syndrome. Technologies such as photography, phonography, and film provided new media that incited yet richer sensorial and sentimental experiences of the past. With the advent of video games and virtual reality beginning in the the late twentieth century, yet more immediate engagements with the past have proliferated. This essay surveys this variety of historical experiences in Western societies; their social relationship with professional historiography; the present(ist) demand for a personal experience of the past; and the future of historical experience portended by digital technologies.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Introduction: The Varieties of Historical Experience
ISBN-13: 9781138315143
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://www.routledge.com/The-Varieties-of-Histori...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10068638
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