Foreword: Ranciere's Revisionism
This long "essay" on the political, scientific, and literary status
histori-cal discourse was originally developed for presentation in a lecture seriesat Cornell University on "the politics
writing." In it Jacques Ranciere
concerned with the politics
historical study and writing, the ways inwhich historians conceptualize, speak, write about, and
writing about,effectively constitute
is,supposedly,their common object
study. In other words, this
"history" understood as "the past"
which certain kinds
it offers very strong views on the nature
"past." It is, rather, a meditation on "historical discourse," the ways inwhich wespeakabout this past and the ways in which it speaks, fails to
prohibited from speaking to us. The original title
history). I have a copy
the first edition, which I boughtinParis in November 1992, before me
Iwrite this foreword. But, I am informed, the title was changed in the sec-ond printing to
Les Noms de l'histoire.
That's too bad. I prefer the original
title, with its echoes not only
Foucault's great study
Western knowledge production
(Les Mots et les choses).
By "les mots" Ranciere designates all the"words" that comprise the documentary evidence on which historians base