Lecture 11: History Writing in the 1960s and 1970s and the ‘linguistic turn’

Part one: definitions, definitions, definitions…

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Part one: definitions, definitions, definitions….
The ‘linguistic turn’ questioned everything that ‘modernity’ stood for. In fact, it signified, as many scholars would argue, the end of modernity and the beginning of postmodern era.
Now, we use modernity all the time…postmodernity perhaps less. But what does it exactly mean? Well, is used in history since the late medieval times.
(explain slide)

One of these vexed terms, which have been endlessly disputed. Differ in the view when it starts, when it ends, and whether we should apply it only to the West. Did China or India had a modernity?

Perhaps refer to the following if time:Some would argue that it begins with the industrial revolutions of the 18th and 19th and 20th century. (Some now even argue that it began the postmedieval period, so 15th and 16th century.) The more general use of the term refers to Western cultures from the 18th century onwards and ends in the 1960s, so the time we are dealing here with today. (but there scholars like Habermas who argue we are still in it).
However, common to these endless disputes over the exact periodization is that they link the term to certain historical events and characteristics identifiable in the West since Enlightenment:

  • the rise of capitalism

  • the move of Western societies towards industrialization

  • secularization, rationalization

  • the rise of the nation-state and its constituent institutions.

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