Exile as context in history

A broader perspective on the circulation of knowledge


  • Karolina Enquist Källgren Göteborgs universitet


exile as context, circulation of knowledge, room of experience, horizon of expectations, Koselleck, propagation, Stengers


Exile is a historic event, and a political social condition, recurring throughout history. In this article I argue that exile can be understood as a context in history, with particular implications for method and historic interpretation. This entails a specific way of constructing historic space, as well as time. Drawing on Koselleck’s concepts room of experience and horizon of expectations, I develop on the idea of a particular exile historic space. I further argue that, since exile is the movement of people from one place to another, exile as context is a methodological approach within the larger historical theory of circulation of knowledge, but with certain specific traits. One of these is the way in which exile maintains contact between locations, and thus also cultural and socio-political contexts. Another is the translation or transposition of concepts and ideas between languages. A third, is the turn towards a ‘universal’ or large-span history of canon. These traits are discussed as parts of the larger theoretical field of circulation of knowledge by relating them to Isabelle Stengers’ concept of propagation.