Biweekly Colloquia: "The Linearization and Historicization of Temporality and the Deification of the Dead"

Jan 08, 2024 from 04:15 PM to 05:45 PM

Olshausenstraße 40, R. 13

Koji Mizoguchi - Kyushu University


"The Linearization and Historicization of Temporality and the Deification of the Dead"
This paper contends that the linearization and historicization of temporality are intrinsically linked to the deification of deceased individuals, phenomena notably prevalent during the state formation process. The term 'historicization' in this context implies the perception that events preceding a given moment (Time t-1) exert causal influence on subsequent events (Time t). In contrast to the cyclical perception of time, where world events are seen as either continuations or disruptions of an atemporal 'norm,' historicization posits that these events are the results of contingent occurrences, encompassing both natural and human/social factors.

As societies grew in scale and complexity, instances of unmet expectations arising from individual or communal actions became increasingly frequent. These unfulfilled outcomes demanded explanations rooted in what occurred before the event, thereby reinforcing a sense of historical contingency and the imperative to reference and commemorate the past. Simultaneously, the need to attribute these causes to otherworldly or transcendental forces emerged, leading to the deification of those who guided communities and made communal decisions.

This paper examines the coalescence of linear time marking and the deification of the deceased, notably observed during the transition from complex-chiefdoms to early-inchoate state formations within Japan and other regions. It offers a theoretical model of this process and provides concrete supporting evidence, primarily drawn from Japanese historical contexts.

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