Universiteit Leiden

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Thorbecke Fund Grant for Herman Paul

Herman Paul has received a €140,000 grant from the Thorbecke Fund (KNAW) for a project entitled “The Demands of Our Time: Epochal Thinking from 1800 to the Present.”

“Epochal thinking” refers to a mode of thinking about history in terms of “epochs,” as favored by Johan Rudolf Thorbecke and other nineteenth-century historicists. The project examines: When did this become a default mode of thinking about non-simultaneity in time? What kind of political agendas has epochal thinking helped legitimize? And what sort of objections have been raised against it?

This project seeks to answer these questions through three conferences in the Trippenhuis (KNAW), focused on (1) the epochal subtexts of post-prefixes, such as in “post-capitalist” and “post-modern,” (2) the politics of “anachronism” and “allochronism” (what does it mean to call something “old-fashioned”?), and (3) current reflection on “multiple temporalities” as a step beyond or back before epochal thinking.

Starting in August 2016, the project will be coordinated by a project manager based at the Leiden Institute for History. The project will result in three edited volumes and/or journal theme issues.


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