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 Knowledge is produced, adapted, forgotten, rejected, superseded, expanded, reconfigured, and more—always by human beings (at least in this more-or-less pre-AI age), alone or in communities, always in culturally, socially,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
    • Long-Term Fellowships at GHI Washington DC

      Thursday, 18. October 2018 - - Term: 6 to 12 months - Deadline: December 1, 2018 - History of knowledge is one of the thematic possibilities. Others (perhaps combined with knowledge) are the histories of migration, family and kinship, race and ethnicity, religion and religiosity, and the Americas. - Further details...

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    • Fellowship in Migration and Knowledge

      Thursday, 18. October 2018 - The German Historical Institute (GHI) is seeking applications for a Binational Visiting Fellow Tandem Program in the History of Migration. The fellowship program contributes to the creation of the new research network “Knowledge in Transit---Migrants’ Knowledge in Comparative Perspective...

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    • More than a Manual: Early-Modern Mathematical Instrument Books

      Thursday, 04. October 2018 - In Elizabethan London, one of the more surprising things a wealthy owner of a beautifully illustrated folio volume could do was to take a sharp knife and cut it to pieces. John Blagrave’s 1585 Mathematical Jewel, in fact, demands nothing less.[1] This work, which introduced an elaborate...

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    • Kuhn and Lamprecht

      Friday, 14. September 2018 - T. S. Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions has had a profound and enduring impact on the social history of knowledge. It has provided an analytical template not only for the history of the natural sciences but also for the history of many other forms of systematic knowledge, including...

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    • Calculation

      Friday, 10. August 2018 - Being a human activity, calculation has a history, even if its operations yield “facts” apparently true in any context. One plus one might always be two, but the methods to arrive at such results, not to mention what they might mean, are another matter. Recent histories involving...

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