Part III. The concepts of “Anthropological History” and “History of Memory”


Smbat Kh. Hovhannisyan
The article examines the paradigms of anthropological history and history of memory interpreted in a new light by the third generation of the Annales school. Hereby, if one of the most significant visions of the positivistic historiography was the quest for the origins of the contemporary events in the past (the so-called “idol of primary sources”), by which the researcher’s outlook was limited to those phenomena, which analogues he saw in the societies of his time, then historical anthropology appreciated mainly those differences that help us comprehend the past, without subordinating the apprehension of the past to the present.

It is also worth pointing out that, if for the founding fathers of the Annales the study of the history of traditions was merely a means for a deeper comprehension of the economic and social histories, then, for the representatives of the third generation of the school, these plots acquire their own independent value. Herein, historical anthropology, developing in parallel with the history of mentalities, serial and quantitative histories, which, in its turn, provided new platforms for the syntheses, was not so distinctly differentiated from the aforementioned research areas.

On the other hand, the importance of the subject of memory and history was again emphasized, and it became clear that mere contraposition could not exhaustingly represent the vast realm of history. Herewith, the apprehension of interrelation between memory and history means revealing, to some extent, not only their differences and opposition, but also and particularly their syntheticaldialogical perspective(s). And before outlining these perspectives it was highly essential, that memory, before turning into history, would go through a cycle of self-overcoming, during which it should gain a historiographical structure. By and large, the history of memory representation, in all its diversity, should appear in the junction in which all probable connections and transitions for historical science are concentrated. This creates the basis and potentiality of an embracive synthesis of historical science, which includes the interpenetrated and interreflected, even antipodal paradigms and conceptions.