Till, Karen E.
Fragments, Ruins, Artifacts, Torsos.
Historical Geography, 29.
If we are to practice empathetic historical geographies, we must be willing
to dig. For Walter Benjamin, the act of digging was a politically radical
one intended to undermine the nationalist project of writing history. Benjamin
describes how the past is always constructed in the present, thereby
challenging the idea that time progresses forward in a linear fashion. Indeed,
as Jacques Derrida and others remind us, the past (like death) does not literally
exist. What exists is the process of creating traces from the past that are
“strained toward the future across a fabled present, figures we inscribe because
they can outlast us, beyond the present of their inscription.” This is true for
the practice of historical geography, just as much as it is for other social practices
including heritage productions or the construction of memorials.
||Fragments; Ruins; Artifacts; Torsos;
||Social Sciences > Geography
Dr. Karen Till
||23 Sep 2011 11:40
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||Deep River Press, High Point, North Carolina
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