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Making Sense of History
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Meaning and Representation in History
Edited by Jörn Rüsen
292 pages, illus., index, bibliog.
ISBN 978-1-57181-776-1 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (August 2006)
ISBN 978-1-84545-262-9 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (December 2007)
eISBN 978-0-85745-555-0 eBook
History has always been more than just the past. It involves a relationship between past and present, perceived, on the one hand, as a temporal chain of events and, on the other, symbolically as an interpretation that gives meaning to these events through varying cultural orientations, charging it with norms and values, hopes and fears. And it is memory that links the present to the past and therefore has to be seen as the most fundamental procedure of the human mind that constitutes history: memory and historical thinking are the door of the human mind to experience. At the same time, it transforms the past into a meaningful and sense bearing part of the present and beyond. It is these complex interrelationships that are the focus of the contributors to this volume, among them such distinguished scholars as Paul Ricoeur, Johan Galtung, Eberhard Lämmert, and James E. Young. Full of profound insights into human society pat and present it is a book that not only historians but also philosophers and social scientists should engage with.
Jörn Rüsen was Professor of Modern History at the Universities of Bochum and Bielefeld for many years. From 1994 to 1997 he was the Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF). Since 1997 he has been President of the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut), Essen.