Humanities Moments

Humanities Moments

We’ve all had “humanities moments” — when our lives were made richer, more poignant, and meaningful because of the insights the humanities provide.

History, (Re)imagined

Contributed by Alexander Knirim, Bayreuth University & The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress
Benedict Anderson, “Imagined Communities”

Description

Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism compelled Alexander Knirim, then a young historian, to re-think the role of imagination in history. Knirim recounts how his original misunderstanding, that we can reconstruct historic truth, was challenged by Anderson’s book and evolved into an appreciation of Anderson’s exegesis.

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Title

History, (Re)imagined

Subject

This encounter with Anderson’s scholarship inspired Knirim to reevaluate the meaning of truth, “proof,” and imagination in the study of history. In the absence of time machines, imagination—combined with rigorous scholarship, of course—can enable us to travel to certain moments in the past. Or at least come closer to the past than we were before.

Description

Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism compelled Alexander Knirim, then a young historian, to re-think the role of imagination in history. Knirim recounts how his original misunderstanding, that we can reconstruct historic truth, was challenged by Anderson’s book and evolved into an appreciation of Anderson’s exegesis.

Contributor

Alexander Knirim, Bayreuth University & The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress

Identifier

knirim-history-reimagined

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