debuts of the month
Search our site
Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron Read the opening extract of the brand new Sophie Cameron book before its publication on 22/03/2018

History in Transit Experience, Identity, Critical Theory by Dominick LaCapra

History in Transit Experience, Identity, Critical Theory


History in Transit Experience, Identity, Critical Theory by Dominick LaCapra

History in Transit comprises Dominick LaCapra's explorations of relationships he believes have been insufficiently theorized: between experience and identity, between history and various theories of subjectivity, between extreme events and their representation, between institutional structures and the kinds of knowledge produced within them. Taken together, these discussions form a dialogical encounter, positing the links among epistemological questions, historicist ones, and issues pertaining to disciplinary and institutional politics.Reacting against the antitheoretical bias of some prominent historians, LaCapra presents an alternative model of historiographical practice--one in which emphases on plurality and hybridity are combined with the concept of historical experience. For LaCapra experience emerges as a category both theoretically determined and anchored in the facticity of the everyday. LaCapra tests the assumptions and implications of the way one approaches the past by looking to psychoanalysis to render more self-aware the relationship between the historian and his or her material. He offers criticisms of assumptions held by practicing historians and theorists, placing the study of history at the center of a larger argument about the role of the contemporary university.Contesting both corporatization and claims that the university is in ruins, LaCapra writes, It is paradoxical that the demand to make the university conform to an ever-increasing extent to a market or business model seems oblivious to the fact that the American university has probably been the most successful of its type in the world, that students from other countries disproportionately desire to study in it.


This book provides careful and brilliant readings of important debates in contemporary theory and is a powerful contribution to these debates. Negotiating the tensions between theoretical methods that focus on the sign and marginalize the referent, and those that emphasize the material, non-textual, and traumatic elements of history, Dominick LaCapra astutely delineates 'experience
as a basic and undertheorized concept. In so doing, he shows how experience can enrich existing notions of alterity, transcendence, trauma, ethics, and much of the remaining lexicon of contemporary literary studies

. --James Berger, author of After the End: Representations of Post-Apocalypse

About the Author

Dominick LaCapra is Professor Emeritus of History atCornell University. He is the author of many books, includingHistory, Literature, Critical Theory;History and Its Limits: Human, Animal, Violence; andHistory in Transit: Experience, Identity, Critical Theory, all from Cornell.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

8th April 2004


Dominick LaCapra

More books by Dominick LaCapra
Author 'Like for Like'


Cornell University Press


288 pages


History: theory & methods



If you LOVE reading then you will love LOVEREADING! It's a 'novel' idea. Seriously though I could not recommend them enough.

Rebecca Whymark

I love the newsletter with reviews of all the new books coming out. Can't wait to open it when it arrives in my inbox.

Rachel Aygin

It has enriched my leisure time by introducing me to a world of books which I would not have previously considered.

Val Rowe

I love the honest opinions, recommendations for every genre and every reader, wish lists and Like for Like.

Amrita Dasgupta

It's a lively, independent website with reviews, recommendations and more - with a huge range of books available to buy in all formats.

Alison Layland

Lovereading takes the guesswork out of finding your next read with "if you like you'll love" and extracts to help with your decision.

Sarah Bruch

You can trust Lovereading to show unbiased reviews by actual, ordinary readers that help likeminded booklovers choose their next great read.

Linda Hill

Lovereading does a stella job in promoting both new and established authors.

Iris Clements