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 Knowledge is produced, adapted, forgotten, rejected, superseded, expanded, reconfigured, and more—always by human beings (at least in this more-or-less pre-AI age), alone or in communities, always in culturally, socially,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
    • Indonesianizing Knowledge, or: The Postcolonial Invention of ‘Colonial Science’?

      Tuesday, 17. July 2018 - “We are living in a new age,” President Sukarno proclaimed at the First National Science Congress in 1958, “the age of atomic revolution, of nuclear revolution, explorers and sputnik, of interplanetary communications with the moon and the stars, and the content of the...

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    • Upcoming Deadline for Job

      Friday, 13. July 2018 - A research fellow position for history of the twentieth century is opening soon at the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC. The application is due electronically on July 31, 2018. Further details...

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    • Challenging Inherited Knowledge Systems

      Thursday, 12. July 2018 - From a report by Jason Farago on a noteworthy exhibit at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg, Germany: By and large, “Mobile Worlds” delivers on its contention that European museums need to do much more than just restitute plundered objects in their collections, important as that...

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    • The Limits of Book Learning

      Wednesday, 11. July 2018 - In 1737, the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus bitterly complained about the haphazard naming practices of his contemporaries. “The names bestowed on plants by the ancient Greeks and Romans I commend,” he wrote, “but I shudder at the sight of most of those given by modern authorities: for...

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    • Via the Twittersphere

      Sunday, 08. July 2018 - J. Laurence Laughlin Methods of Teaching Political Economy (1885), chap. 5, at Irwin Collier, Economics in the Rearview Mirror. No matter how clear the exposition of the principles may be [in a lecture], no matter how fresh and striking the illustrations, it still remains that the student...

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