Haunting History: For a Deconstructive Approach to the Past
This book argues for a deconstructive approach to the practice and writing of history at a moment when available forms for writing and publishing history are undergoing radical transformation. To do so, it explores the legacy and impact of deconstruction on American historical work; the current fetishization of lived experience, materialism, and the "real;" new trends in philosophy of history; and the persistence of ontological realism as the dominant mode of thought for conventional historians.
Arguing that this ontological realist mode of thinking is reinforced by current analog publishing practices, Ethan Kleinberg advocates for a hauntological approach to history that follows the work of Jacques Derrida and embraces a past that is at once present and absent, available and restricted, rather than a fixed and static snapshot of a moment in time. This polysemic understanding of the past as multiple and conflicting, he maintains, is what makes the deconstructive approach to the past particularly well suited to new digital forms of historical writing and presentation.
Stanford University Press