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

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Confusingly, the term modernity may also refer to tendencies in intellectual and cultural life, particularly cultural and social movements that dealt with issues that are considered characteristic of modernity such as industrialisation or secularisation. Marxism is such an intellectual movement for example that arose out of engagement with the results of the rise of capitalism and industrialisation for example.
Now, modernity as a term we use to describe these historical development and historical period and it differs from ‘modernism’.
What does modernism mean?

Modernism: is a philosophical and aestetic movement that, along with cultural trends and changes, arose from wide-scale and far-reaching transformations in Western society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Among the factors that shaped Modernism was the development of modern industrial societies and the rapid growth of cities, followed then by the horror of World War I.
(examples in art; example in architecture, example in literature, examples in history writing and that follows mainly what we identified as characteristic since the Enlightenment:
grand narratives: (i.e. ways of thinking that unite knowledge and experience to seek to provide a definitive, universal truth

(Modernism also began to question some of the central tenets of Enlightenment thinking, and many modernists rejected religious beliefs (e.g. Friedrich Nietzsche).)


This term refers to a set of perceived (sociological, political, economical,

technological, etc.) conditions of everyday life, which are perceived as distinctly

different from the conditions of ‘modernity’ (e.g. globalisation). The discussion of postmodern-ity is the discussion of these conditions. Although debated, it is usually understood that it postmodernity began in the West in the 1960s.


Postmodernism is the intellectual (cultural, artistic, academic, and philosophical) response since the 1960s to these conditions of modernity. P(ˇøp"3?T’, serif">ostmodernism is a philosophy of knowledge. It constructs an understanding of what knowledge is that contrasts to that of the Enlightenment (and modernity which inherited and continued Enlightenment traditions). It dismantles the entire system of knowledge that was created by Enlightenment empiricism and, starting from scratch, it constructs a new knowledge system.

(slide with central claim about reality)
(slide: what does postmodernist writing offer instead to avoid truth claims so to speak? Overview)

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