2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

How Does History Write Events After the Return of the Event?

Der-liang Chiou

National Chiao Tung University, Graduate Institue for Social Research and Cultural Studies

This article focuses on how it is possible for history to write the events, after the rise of the “return of the event” movement in France during the 70s and 80s from the perspective of historical theory. The (historical) narrative of the event presupposes a two-fold dimension: on one hand there is an event which happens on the ontological ground, and also it is impossible to know it on the ground of epistemology. But the event is not a being, and it has no state of existence. It is only a supplement of being, a non-being. To be an event, its singularity and irrepeatability make it incomprehensible, un-representable, and beyond anything that can be thought or even imagined. Facing the event, language is disarmed, frustrated, and it is impossible to speak of it. And this impossibility of speaking is on the contrary the possible condition of narrating it. This article tries to argue that the act of writing history itself could be a event. It is a “textual event” and at the same time an archivization of an event. Thank to the writing of history as event, we keep open to Otherness, and the event is the ultimate Other of history.


Keywords: event, writing of history, speech act, textual event, archivization