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Clues; a Hypothesis revisited

a Workshop with Carlo Ginzburg

On Friday, 12 February, 2010, 3:30 pm

at OSA Archivum (32 Arany Janos str. Budapest 1051)

"Morelli, Freud and Sherlock Holmes: Clues and Scientific Method" was first published in 1979. When the journal, History Workshop published it in English in 1980, the editor felt it necessary to introduce it with the following words: "This article by an Italian comrade and historian is very different from anything we have included in History Workshop Journal before. It ...ranges across societies and periods in a way which is extraordinary - even shocking - to the English reader. In this article, as in his other work, Ginzburg is centrally concerned with how people see the world, how knowledge is acquired and organized, the frameworks into which they fit information, beliefs or observations, and the social structure, which contains and influences and is influenced by these aspects of knowledge. He examines the relationship between 'formal' and 'informal' knowledge, 'high' and 'low', lore and science. His concern, in short, is historical epistemology - the history and theory of the construction of knowledge." Clues, in the past decades became one of the most cited, and most intensively debated theoretical paper in historical scholarship. Carlo Ginzburg revisits and reassess that classic paper, offering additional clues to how to approach the past.

Carlo Ginzburg is currently professor at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. His fields of interest range from Antiquity, the Italian Renaissance to early modern, and even recent European history, with contributions to art history, literary studies, historical anthropology, and the theory of historiography. His works include: The Night Battles: Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries; The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth Century Miller; The Enigma of Piero; Ecstasies. Deciphering the Witches' Sabbath; Wooden Eyes; The Judge and the Historian. Marginal Notes and a Late-Twentieth-century Miscarriage of Justice; History, Rhetoric, and Proof; No Island is an Island. Four Glances at English Literature in a World Perspective.
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