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Bowen Ran MA

PhD candidate


Area(s) of interest: Historiography & Theory of History

Cohort/Start PhD: 2022-2023

Distanciation and Approximation in Progressive Western Historiography

Erasmus University Rotterdam
Supervisors: Professor Maria Grever, Professor Paul van de Laar, Dr. Robbert-Jan Adriaansen
Start date: 1-9-2022

This project examines the configuration of historical distance and its implications for progressive Western historical representations. The primary concern of this project is, how do progressive Western historians, in their attempt to mediate between past and present, nurture acognitive and emotionalized attachment with past characters/events while preserving historiography as a critical force towards the present. To address this issue, I will resort to speech act theory, and analyze the presuppositions they hold, literary devices they employ and research paradigms they borrow from other disciplines through a discursive reading of their historiographies, (auto)biographies, correspondence, interviews, and talks, that will also identify the sociopolitical context in which these politically active historians operated. This research will not only provide a unique perspective on progressive Western historiography but also, more generally, enhance our understanding of historians’ intricate and multidimensional entanglement with the past.