The Simultaneity of the Non-simultaneous. Chronotopos and Chronopolitics

Dr. Fernando Esposito

Time is not only the most important category of history, it also has a history of its own. The project aims to tell the history of time and to contribute to the theory of historical times. It explores the historical-theoretical formula of the "simultaneity of the non-simultaneous" and delves into its changes, structure, and function. In terms of time, the study spans a broad time frame, from the recent present to the late Enlightenment and narrates four stories of the simultaneity of the non-simultaneous. After a conceptual-historical overture dealing with Walter Benjamin and Ernst Bloch in 1920s Naples, the first part of the study turns to Reinhart Koselleck. It shows how, in the last third of the 20th century, the "basic experience of history" had become a historical object, and how thinking about simultaneity joined the thinking about non-simultaneity. The second part of the book centres around the geologist Sir William Hamilton, who explored Mount Vesuvius from 1764 onwards, as around the metaphors of the "Zeitschaft" and the "Zeitschicht". A synchronic, multi-temporal concept of history is tested and the stratigraphic foundations of historicist historical thinking are exposed. The concluding third part is addressed to the Italian Meridionalists. It shows how this group of reform-oriented politicians, economists, agronomists, historians and sociologists produced the backward Mezzogiorno in the last third of the 19th century, thus designing the South as a chronopolitical task.

Dr. Fernando Esposito
Ludwig and Margarethe Quidde Fellow 2021
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