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 ?
Perhaps Raman's efforts to find a new approach through presentism would have been more effective if those efforts were accompanied by a more extensive treatment of current cultural, critical and theoretical work that bears the imprint of (post)colonial history.
Given that behavior-analytic reform was a failed experiment, presentism might simply ignore it as part of the history of behavior analysis, explain it away, or regard it as a glitch in the upward trajectory of behavior analysis.
There is a certain irony in the presentism of our current historical understanding: it threatens to put us out of business as historians.
According to Metzl, someone who declares that Mary Todd Lincoln or Vincent Van Gogh suffered from bipolar disorder, a concept that was not developed until after their deaths, is also guilty of presentism.
She argues that this history must be brought to light and analyzed in order to deal with a crisis in education that ahistorical presentism depicts in the shallow water of failing schools and falling test scores.
By presuming moral superiority over the dead and discounting their experience, presentism becomes itself a kind of prejudice.
42) Within The Fourth Star, presentism is most evident in the way the authors downplay the Army's use of Delta Force, Ranger, and Special Forces teams to transcend the limitations of conventional war-fighting approaches.
Further, while the historical approach adopted in the book is effective, it suffers somewhat from presentism.
Among other dimensions, its thinking patterns include the ability to decipher what is historically significant, to properly use evidence from the past, and to understand such notions as continuity and change, cause and consequence, progress and decline, and presentism or hindsight (Lowenthal 2000, Seixas and Peck 2004).
In contrast to the presentism and me-me-me consumption discourses of Dolly, the Australian Women's Weekly souvenir issue has several stories specifically focused on Gillard's background, her childhood and her current relationship.
Suspicious of the presentism of the postcolonial lens and resistant to the temptation to assimilate all nineteenth-century literary activity under a simplistically conceived 'Victorian' rubric, this essay identifies an early nineteenth-century, late-Romantic colonial reading culture that was discrete and local yet part of broad patterns of transmission and reception.
While Jenkins is explicit about the fact that his study of mid-Victorian Irish terrorism exists in the shadow of later phases of Irish violence in the early twentieth century and since the 1960s, he does not use this as an excuse for presentism, instead considering questions of contemporary significance without slipping into jargon or journalistic convention.