Abstract

The History Manifesto de David Armitage et Jo Guldi suscite un vaste débat aux États-Unis. Nous le critiquons sous trois aspects : leur postulat d’une « crise morale » de l’histoire – qui ne repose sur aucune analyse des attentes de notre époque en termes de savoir et de quête de sens; leur idéologie technologique, qui sous-tend la proposition de revenir à la longue durée et aux grandes synthèses grâce à la quantité de sources mises à la disposition des chercheurs par la numérisation; leur conception de l’utilité de l’histoire qui traduit une confusion problématique entre la vulgarisation, l’enseignement et la recherche et une soumission aux directives institutionnelles. Marqué par un retour à un positivisme scientiste, ce manifeste qui fait fi de la transmission lente des savoirs accumulés, témoigne en fait d’une régression philosophique et d’une disparition de la pensée critique. On propose par dérision d’appeler e-storique et e-story la réduction a priori de toute historicité et de toute critique dans la techno-chronologie et le marketing.

Abstract

David Armitage and Jo Guldi’s History Manifesto has sparked an important debate in the US. This article criticizes three specific aspects of their work. First, it takes issue with their description of a “moral crisis” of history, which they postulate without any discussion of serious epistemological and political issues. Second, it calls into question their enthusiasm for technological solutions, an ideological stance highlighted by their call for a return to long-term history and large-scale syntheses relying on the crunching of vast quantities of digitized data. Finally, it interrogates their conception of the utility of history, a notion that reveals serious confusion between research, teaching, and popularization and supports their unquestioning acceptance of the direction taken by institutions of higher learning. Although the scientism and positivism expressed in their manifesto illuminate their lack of attention to, and perhaps simply awareness of, the slow construction and transmission of accumulated knowledge, they do reflect the prevailing intellectual nonchalance and philosophical regression. The authors’ vision would see the replacement of “history” by “e-story,” the dissolution of historicity and scholarly critiques and their substitution by techno-chronology and marketing.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1953-8146
Print ISSN
0395-2649
Pages
pp. 327-332
Launched on MUSE
2015-11-08
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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