The 16th volume of Animus (2013) will be devoted to history, especially to the study of historians, historiography and the philosophy of history.
Herodotus perhaps initiates the discipline of history with the following words:
"Herodotus of Halicarnassus here displays his inquiry, so that human achievements may not become forgotten in time, and great and marvellous deeds – some displayed by Greeks, some by barbarians – may not be without their glory; and especially to show why the two peoples fought with each other. " (Herodotus, The Histories, Aubrey de Selincourt and John Marincola, Penguin Classics 1996)
Since Herodotus, the West has more or less continued the tradition of recording 'memorable' human achievements as constituting a meaningful narrative to be handed on from one generation to the next – what we today derisively refer to as the 'Grand Narrative' of Western history.
Our ambivalence toward the Grand Narrative built on Herodotus' foundation has no better image than that of Ondaatje's dying 'English patient' clutching his version of Herodotus, the 'commonplace book' of a treasonous hero who derides the imperialist arrogance of glorifying "the first step by a white man across a great river, the first sight (by a white eye) of a mountain that has been there forever", yet who claims to have been inspired by the founder of that narrative to learn "how our lives could mean something to the past ... We sailed into the past. We were young. We knew power and finance were temporary things. We all slept with Herodotus" (The English Patient 141-42). So, too, do we rail against the arrogance embedded in the 'Grand Narrative' of Western history, even as we give ourselves over to the task of its continuance. This volume of Animus is devoted to examining the very activity of finding
meaning in history in light of a deepening historical consciousness and skepticism.
What is history? Is history text? How should history be distinguished from other modes of inquiry? What are the assumptions of historians and others who have contributed to the 'Grand Narrative' of Western history? Did Thucydides' critique of Herodotus advance historiography? Why is history less philosophical than poetry for Aristotle? Is there a history in the Old Testament? Does St. Augustine's City of God constitute a history? How are Hegel's remarks about the end of history to be understood? Are contemporary events such as 9/11 better understood from a Marxist or Hegelian standpoint? What are the reasons for the emergence of historicism? Is the dominance of the historicist perspective inevitable or theoretically justified? If even metaphysical truths are drawn into history by collapsing the distinction between eternal being and historical becoming, is metaphysics itself simply history? What is the relevance of history for philosophy? On what basic assumption does the writing of Western history
continue? What does it mean that Western history been replaced with the study of Global History in Western schools and universities?
Animus invites articles that reflect on particular authors, texts (whether historical, literary or
philosophical), time periods or other aspects which address questions about history, historiography and the philosophy of history.