Conceptual History, Cultural History, Social History

Viktor Zhivov (†)

Abstract


V. M. Zhivov’s introduction to Studies in Historical Semantics of the Russian Language in the Early Modern Period (2009), translated here for the first time, offers a critical survey of the historiography on Begriffsgeschichte, the German school of conceptual history associated with the work of Reinhart Koselleck, as well as of its application to the study of Russian culture.  By situating Begriffsgeschichte in the context of late-nineteenth and early twentieth-century European philosophy, particularly hermeneutics and phenomenology, the author points out the important, and as yet unacknowledged, role that Russian linguists have played in the development of a native school of conceptual history.  In the process of outlining this alternative history of the discipline, Zhivov provides some specific examples of the way in which the study of “historical semantics” can be used to analyze the development of Russian modernity.


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