The reading group explores the topics that will later be discussed at the conference What Time Are We Living In? New Historicity and the Politics of Time, devoted to a critical rethinking of the contemporary condition and bringing together philosophers, sociologists and cultural theorists that can redefine the contemporary.
History does not equal the past. It is written in the present, which in fact does not always need to distinguish itself from the past. For example, antiquity did not accept the irreversible nature of past events. Today, we are facing a somewhat similar situation. Our memory of the disasters of the 20th century does not let the past drift away and keeps it alive in the present moment, merging it with the present to the point where they cannot be distinguished. The media and various cultural and political institutions keep reproducing this memory. Does that mean that we live in an eternal present and can no longer distinguish between phantoms and reality—things that are no longer relevant and things that still matter?
Participants are invited to read philosophical and historical writings that show how the image of contemporaneity has formed and evolved over time. Authors include Walter Benjamin, Jürgen Habermas, Jacques Rancière and Giorgio Agamben.