Measuring Time, Making History

Measuring Time, Making History

Lynn Hunt
Volume: 1
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Pages: 147
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  • Book Info
    Measuring Time, Making History
    Book Description:

    Time is the crucial ingredient in history, and yet historians rarely talk about time as such. These essays offer new insight into the development of modern conceptions of time, from the Christian dating system (BC/AD or BCE/CE) to the idea of “modernity” as a new epoch in human history.

    eISBN: 978-615-5211-48-5
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[vi])
  3. Preface and Acknowledgements
    (pp. 1-2)
  4. Chapter 1 Is Time Historical?
    (pp. 3-46)

    Time, as Sexton’s lines so forcibly remind us, requires metaphor. It flows like a river, accelerates like an engine, flies like a winged chariot, freezes like instant ice, stands still like a heart between beats, or, in Sexton’s words, grows short, and then dims out as death opens his door. Without the metaphors, whether “that Nazi Mama” wiggling her skirts, or the more venerable arrow of time, the fourth dimension would be exceedingly difficult to grasp. Linguists have noted that it is virtually impossible to talk about time without invoking motion (wiggling skirts, engines, chariots, arrows) and spatial content (short,...

  5. Chapter 2 Modernity and History
    (pp. 47-92)

    Modernity has two related definitions, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. It is “the quality or condition of being modern; modernness of character or style,” and “an intellectual tendency or social perspective characterized by departure from or repudiation of traditional ideas, doctrines, and cultural values in favor of contemporary or radical values and beliefs (chiefly those of scientific rationalism and liberalism).” The second definition with its emphasis on breaking from tradition has its roots in the European Enlightenment and French Revolution, though Enlightenment writers themselves did not use the specific term modernity. The Oxford English Dictionary cites only one use...

  6. Chapter 3 Post Times or the Future of the Past
    (pp. 93-134)

    Western notions of time have shaped temporal understandings around the world and to a considerable extent have been imposed on the rest of the world. Twenty-five nations sent delegates to the International Meridian Conference that met in Washington D.C. in October 1884 and adopted the observatory at Greenwich, England as the location for the prime meridian (0 longitude). Among them were all the major countries of Europe, many South American countries, the United States, of course, and Turkey and Japan, the sole representatives of their regions. The Europeans presumably stood in for their African colonies. Although all the nations represented...

  7. Index
    (pp. 135-140)