“Time present and time past are both perhaps present in time future and time future contained in time past.” T. S. Eliot
Coming back home…
In my previous posts, I’ve shared with you a travel story, a story about two friends, Alex and I, who left the (relative) comfort of a couch on a sweaty summer night to explore the refreshing land of historiography and get to know the historians who inhabit it.
On our journey of thought we have learned that historiography is the history of history: It studies how the work of historians changes throughout the centuries. But to what purpose? Well, in our imaginary journey we explored the idea that the work of historians is most useful to mankind when it’s not focused on giving answers, but rather questioning the past, the present, the future …
Now we were ready to return home. Our fantasy journey was coming to an end. But the very thought of going back home stirred us to move forward with our conversation. In fact, one step was still missing to complete our itinerary. We knew what home was for us: London, the torrid and lazy summer, and the Mexican takeaway down the street luring us in with the promise of excellent guac and salsa to accompany our drinks. But we still needed to answer a key, basic question. What was home for a historian? We resumed our walk pondering this question and talking it over until we finally reached home.
“You climb to reach the summit, but once there, discover that all roads lead down.” – Stanislaw Lem
When Historians Go on a Camping Trip …
If you’ve read my previous blogpost, you’ll know that my friend Alex and I embarked on a journey to the mysterious land of historiography, inhabited by an odd tribe called ‘Historians’. As we wandered through hills and forests, we came upon a cozy valley, with numerous streamlets littering its sides and bottom, a refreshing sight for both body and mind. It was a wonderland of intricate bush and funnily shaped rocks, hosting a tremendous variety of shapes and colors in a relatively small space. Of course we decided to camp out there. Alex quickly set up tent and fire, while I, being the expert guide of this expedition, took up an essential task: providing good campsite entertainment. As a historian, what else could I do if not telling a story?
“The gladdest moment in human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands.” Sir Richard Francis Burton
Today we start with a new feature: We don’t just want to explore interesting places in the real world of Münster with our Fellows. Rather, we also want to immerse into the exciting research worlds of our Fellows. We start with Giulia’s world: Curtain up for Giulia’s journey into the unknown lands of historiograpy:
During a Humid Summer Night in London …
A few months ago, during a hot and humid summer night in London, my old friend Alex read for the first time an academic paper I wrote. He is a researcher too and, although history is not his field, he was able to understand and relate to most of my text and argument. But he got literally startled when he came to this line: “(This study) will deepen our understanding of the relationship between Christianity and modern historical consciousness from the perspective of its historiographical explanation.” Yeah, I know … The whole thing sounds like a lot of blah, blah, blah … But the real shock, at least to my friend Alex, was this ‘historiographical’ thing.
In the series “33 questions” we introduce, in no particular order, our WiRe Fellows who are currently working on a research project here at the University of Münster. Why 33? Well, if we think of the rush hour of life, it is kind of the age that lies in its middle. And we also like the number😉.
In our 6th episode we are speaking with Eline, medical ethicist dedicated to analyse and improve ethical aspects of medical research and treatment that affect patients, doctors, and society.