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Measuring Time, Making History

Lynn Hunt

Preface and Acknowledgements

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1The Natalie Zemon Davis annual lectures at the Central European University provided the occasion for developing the ideas in this book. It was a great honor for me to be asked to give those lectures in November 2006. Natalie Davis is not only an immensely distinguished historian but also a mentor and example for many of us. She was my senior colleague at the University of California, Berkeley when I was fortunate enough to be hired there in 1974 for my first regular university position. I will never forget my anticipation at meeting her during my interview for the job or the many kindnesses she extended to me while we were colleagues. The time was not long before she went off to Princeton University, but it was an intensely formative time for the young historian that I was then. Natalie brought a unique blend of charisma, enthusiasm, and good sense to the study and teaching of history, and she has as a consequence helped shape whole generations of young historians in the United States, Canada, and in many other places in the world as well.

2One special place for her was the Central European University, and so I was thrilled to have the chance to follow in her footsteps there. I want to thank Gábor Klaniczay and his colleagues in the Medieval Studies Department and the History Department for their warm welcome, for the delightful introduction to the Central European University and the city of Budapest, and for their intellectual engagement with the themes I proposed. I want to thank as well the wonderful graduate students of the two departments who asked so many thoughtful and provocative questions at the lectures, thereby helping me to clarify my thoughts on the question of time and history.

© Central European University Press, 2008

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