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The Meaning of Time Travel
Taken from The Archaeology of Time Travel (Petersson & Holtorf (eds), Archaeopress, 2017) by Cornelius Holtorf. pp 1-22.

In this introductory paper Holtorf discusses the relevance of time travel as a characteristic contemporary way to approach the past. If reality is defined as the sum of human experiences and social practices, all reality is partly virtual, and all experienced and practiced time travel is real. In that sense, time travel experiences are not necessarily purely imaginary. Time travel experiences and associated social practices have become ubiquitous and popular, increasingly replacing more knowledge-orientated and critical approaches to the past. My discussion covers some of the implications and problems associated with the ubiquity and popularity of time travelling. I also discuss whether time travel is inherently conservative because of its escapist tendencies, or whether it might instead be considered as a fulfilment of the contemporary Experience or Dream Society. Whatever position one may take, time travel is a legitimate and timely object of study and critique because it represents a particularly significant way to bring the past back to life in the present.


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