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Being Fair Towards the Dead? Historians and Power Relations in Research into Inquisitional Records

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Rok publikování 2013
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

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Popis This paper focuses on the question of whether historians, who essentially deal with long dead people, should nevertheless pay attention to fairness and symmetrical relations in research. I argue that fairness should not be dealt with as merely a matter of political correctness – unimportant where no real danger of the "objects" striking back at the scholar is perceived – but as having quite some epistemological significance. There are a handful of stimulating reflections on the ethics of research into inquisitional records and on analogies between the historian and the inquisitor (for example by Carlo Ginzburg, Renato Rosaldo and John H. Arnold) showing that ethical issues have to be dealt with seriously in this type of research, as the authentication of information in inquisitorial records by the scholar is in fact a way of empowering certain historical actors, often necessarily against others. This paper takes these reflections as its starting point and addresses some questions about the triangle of power relations being established between the inquisitor, the deponent, and the historian.
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