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Unpublished Paper
A New Concept of "History": A Dialogue Between Reinhart Koselleck and Chela Sandoval
  • Ruth E. Bryan
This paper explore the meaning and conception of “history” as used by Chela Sandoval in her article “U.S. Third World Feminism: The Theory and Method of Oppositional Consciousness in the Postmodern World” (1991) and Reinhart Koselleck in his book of essays, Futures Past (1985). For both writers, "history” is based in the relationship of past experience to future expectations. However, for Koselleck, “history” contains the expectation of positive progress. Thus, in his conception, all people have the same general experience (a conception of the past), therefore we all conceptualize history in the same way, therefore we are all equally happy with and benefit from the course of “history in general” and its concomitant progress. Sandoval’s concept of “history” makes room for oppositional consciousness where interactions among race, culture, class, and sexual orientation for individuals and groups create different and more or less privileged experiences. These different experiences can then be used consciously in order to both work within and outside of the dominant social order for progress in future expectations. Sandoval calls these oppositional tactics a “topography”—a set of points around which people constitute themselves as resistant and oppositional subjects who want to transform their world. This paper argues that this “topography” can also be considered a useful, mobile concept of “history.”
  • history,
  • Chela Sandoval,
  • Reinhart Koselleck,
  • experience,
  • expectation,
  • oppositional consciousness,
  • topography,
  • progress
Publication Date
December 20, 1995
A paper for Contemporary Anthropological Theory class, New School for Social Research, New York, New York
Citation Information
Ruth E. Bryan. "A New Concept of "History": A Dialogue Between Reinhart Koselleck and Chela Sandoval" (1995)
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