Our Words, and Theirs: A Reflection on the Historian’s Craft, Today

Carlo Ginzburg


“Those familiar with archival research know that one can go on leafing through innumerable files and quickly inspecting the contents of countless boxes before coming to a sudden halt, arrested by a document which could be scrutinized for years. […] Once again we come back to Ansatzpunkte: the specific points which, as Auerbach argued, can provide the seeds for a detailed research program provided with a generalizing potential – in other words, a case. Anomalous cases are especially promising, since anomalies, as Kierkegaard once noted, are richer, from a cognitive point of view, than norms, insofar as the former invariably includes the latter – but not the other way round.” First published in Historical Knowledge. In Quest of Theory, Method and Evidence, ed. by Susanna Fellman and Marjatta Rahikainen (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012), pp. 97–119, Ginzburg's paper has been republished on Cromohs 18 (2013) with the permission of the Author, the Editors, and Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13128/Cromohs-14122

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