Presentism


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Presentism

 

a term used in scholarly literature to designate a subjective, idealist school in 20th-century bourgeois historical methodology. Presentism viewed historiography not as a reflection of objective phenomena taking place in the past, but merely as the reflection of contemporary ideological attitudes. In absolutizing the obvious fact that any portrayal of the past presupposes a certain contemporary perspective, presentism in principle rejects the possibility of objective truth in understanding history. The concepts of presentism were most widespread in the USA from the 1920’s through the 1940’s, since the trend was closely connected with the philosophical school of pragmatism.

References in periodicals archive ?
Presentism surfaces when people's view of the past is influenced by their contemporary understandings (Nokes, 2011; Wineburg, 2001); viewing Christopher Columbus's successful voyage as fated is an example of presentism.
Not only from the likes of Grady and Terence Hawkes--whose presentism is frequently brought up only to be torn down again--but also from the myriad of other angles from which historicist practice has been attacked in recent years.
Historians refer to this as the ability to overcome presentism (Hunt, 2002), seeing beyond our brief lifetime into the expanse of human history and how people in the past conceived of their world.
Thus, it is generally thought that one is free to accept an argument for actualism, say, but to reject a parallel argument for presentism.
aThe Web has such a presentism bias,a she said, with Facebook updates, tweets and blog entries always appearing with the latest first.
The last topic of this review concerns three dichotomies scholars use to describe the writing of history: great person versus zeitgeist, internalism versus externalism, and presentism versus historicism.
Cowlishaw notes the ways in which The Jetsons was as obsessed with, and limited by, its presentism as is most sf: it did not so much inure against future shock as it supported the myth that we know what is to come.
Of course, to condemn Wilson today for the class and gendered assumptions she pursued in her work could veer toward an exercise of presentism, and Poulter and Baldwin show why.
Since the late 1950s, Buddhism's discourse of radical presentism has become a commonplace in the West, manifesting itself in a bewildering array of syncretic practices that cohere around the ritualized and repetitive act of returning to "the fact that we find ourselves, always, in a certain time, in a certain body, living a certain kind of life" (Cook 53).
Further, the United States is guilty of presentism and not much given to the study of the historical bases of strategy and defense planning.