AbstractCommemoration: on the first and second history
In this article a basic distinction is made between the first and the second history. The “first history” is taken as an example in which to indicate history as we experience it from within, on the basis of historical interest. The “second history” would then be history as academic professionals construct it on the basis of historical and critical research of the facts. The question that arises is: How does the historical interest that is typical of the first, lived and experienced history, relate to the historical-critical investigation of the facts that have become determinative for the second, i.e. constructed history? In the following sections I first and foremost pay attention to the human ability to commemorate; commemoration appears to be a specific expression of historical interest. Next, I make note of the difference between significant and small historical narratives and I criticise Fukuyama’s view of history. I furthermore analyse the dialogical and critical character of commemoration, describing more precisely this commemoration as an anamnetic experience. I continue by focusing on the romantic misconception of commemoration and on the crucial role of the stranger within the gates. In the following section I contrast the anamnetic and the academic history as an experienced versus a constructive history: is the latter value-free? Finally I come to the conclusion that the second history, as a historical construction, can be seen as an indispensable contribution to commemoration, i.e. to our intimate dealing with the first history.
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