History of Knowledge Blog

GHI's History of Knowledge Blog

Knowledge does not simply exist, awaiting discovery and use. Knowledge is produced, adapted, forgotten, rejected, superseded, expanded, reconfigured, and more—always by human beings (at least in this more-or-less pre-AI age), alone or in communities, always in culturally, socially, economically, and institutionally specific contexts.

Knowledge is central to most purposeful human practices, whether at work, in the family, or for worship, whether implicitly or explicitly, whether passed down by hands-on training or through books and other storage and retrieval systems. Both product and basis of human interactions, knowledge has a history. Indeed, human history cannot be understood apart from the history of knowledge.

This blog aims to serve as a venue for the exchange of ideas and information on the history of knowledge. It is currently managed by a small team at the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC, but it desires contributions by and engagement with scholars working elsewhere.

  • Latest Posts
    • Navigating the Silence of Enslavement: Does the Eurovision Song Contest Community Need To Know Lisbon’s History of Slavery?

      Monday, 15. January 2018 - It has taken sixty-one editions of the Eurovision Song Contest, and fifty-three years of Portuguese participation, for any Portuguese city to have the chance to host the annual song competition and show the contest’s reputed 200 million viewers its own interpretation of Europe’s...

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    • What Rumors Have Taught Me about Knowledge

      Thursday, 04. January 2018 - Rumors have interested me for a long time—not merely the occasional bits of chatter from my work life but rumors as historical phenomena. In my second semester of undergraduate studies, one of my professors mentioned in passing that the rumor about Christopher Columbus’s return from...

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    • The History of Knowledge: An Indispensable Perspective for Contemporary History

      Monday, 04. December 2017 - Even if scholars are no strangers to the history of knowledge, it sometimes feels as though some cultural and social historians are not very open to the subject, at least not in the case of contemporary history. Questions put forward by the history of knowledge are seen as sidetracking research...

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    • Lesson about Thanksgiving Day

      Tuesday, 21. November 2017 - Thursday is a big holiday in the United States, where we are located, so this blog will be quiet until next week. Happy Thanksgiving! See more

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    • Hurricanes, Climate Change, and Adaptation: The Roles of Knowledge and Memory in Past and Present

      Tuesday, 14. November 2017 - This year is not the first time in the United States that climate change became a politically charged, hotly debated topic during a very active hurricane season. A comparable situation occurred in the 2005 season, when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast. Similar to current federal...

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