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10.5593/sgemsocial2018H/21/S06.047

THE HISTORISATION OF MEMORY: TESTIMONY AND HISTORICAL KNOWLEDGE

V. Busacchi
Tuesday 10 April 2018 by lib_admin

References: 5th International Multidisciplinary Scientific Conference on Social Sciences and Arts SGEM 2018, www.sgemvienna.org, SGEM2018 Vienna ART Conference Proceedings, ISBN 978-619-7408-31-7 / ISSN 2367-5659, 19 - 21 March, 2018, Vol. 5, Issue 2.1; 379-386 pp, DOI: 10.5593/sgemsocial2018H/21/S06.047

ABSTRACT

This paper aims to deepen the relationship between testimony and historical reconstruction putting particular attention around the process of historisation of memory. Testimony supposedly has preeminence among sources of historical knowledge in that it eliminates distance from the past, actualising it and somehow offering the possibility to ‘re-experience’ it through the narrative medium (oral or written). Beyond the specific, onto-logical and epistemological problematic gap between the lapsed past and its representation in the present, testimony certainly may significantly influence the way we represent history. In fact,focusing attention on the feelings and the inner world of the actors and witnesses of past events rather than on the succession of actions and events tends to significantly affect the historical matter itself and the manner through which the historians understand, explain, and write about it. From another point of view, ‘history is vaster than memory’ and ‘its time is layered differently’. However, on one side, ‘history can expand, complete, correct, even refute the testimony of memory regarding the past’ (Ricoeur, 2004), never abolishing it. From the other side, through its constant work to enrich, integrate, revise, re-modulate, and so on, the community of historians create a historisation of memory as part of historical knowledge, where the re-presentation of the past becomes a concrete and available scientific medium between memory and historical past.

Keywords: hermeneutics, historical past, memory, fact, testimony


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