Mario Wimmer will deliver the Library Lecture on Tuesday, April 7, at 6 pm. His talk is entitled “Sense of the Past.”

If there is a sense of possibility there must also be a sense of the past. By sense of the past Wimmer understands not only the disciplinary habitus, or the interplay between scholarly rationality and imagination, but also a particular cultural sense. During the nineteenth century, almost the whole field of the Humanities turned historical. However, specific notions of ‘timelessness’ emerged as a function of this sense of the past, a new way of thinking and perceiving the world as subject to permanent change. Yet, timelessness is one of the blind spots of historical thought that may keep scholars from coming to terms with phenomena that are arguably timeless but central to modern culture, such as the concept of peoples ‘without history,’ the psychoanalytical mapping of the unconscious, or the aporia of different forms of time travel. In this lecture Wimmer will explore this moments of timelessness within a history of a sense of the past.


Mario Wimmer teaches history and theory of media at the University of Basel. As an historian he specializes in the historical epistemology of the modern human sciences. Previous to joining the University of Basel, he taught modern history in UC Berkeley’s rhetoric department (2013-2017) and was a postdoc at the Swiss Institute of Technology (2010-2012). He is currently working on a book titled Ranke’s Blindness. His publications include the book Archival Bodies: A History of Historical Imagination (2012) and the articles “The Afterlives of Scholarship: Warburg and Cassirer” (2017), “On Sources: Mythical and Historical Thinking in Fin-de-siècle Vienna,” (2013), “Josephine Miles (1911-1985): Doing Digital Humanism With and Without Machines” (2019).


This event will be livestreamed. Please check back the day of the event for a link to the video. To watch videos of past events please visit our YouTube page.