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 Knowledge is produced, adapted, forgotten, rejected, superseded, expanded, reconfigured, and more—always by human beings (at least in this more-or-less pre-AI age), alone or in communities, always in culturally, socially,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
    • Structuring Imperial Knowledge about India at the Great Exhibition of 1851

      Friday, 18. January 2019 - The Great Exhibition of 1851 excited curiosity in nineteenth-century contemporaries and continues to garner interest among scholars today. Attracting some six million visitors and comprising over 100,000 exhibits that filled 76,720 square meters of exhibition space, it entered media, memory, and...

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    • ‘You,’ ‘Us,’ and ‘Them’: Glass and Procedural Knowledge in Cuneiform Cultures

      Wednesday, 05. December 2018 - You When you want to make a kiln for glassmaking, you search continuously for a propitious day during a favorable month. You lay the foundations of a kiln with four chambers. You make constant offerings and set up purifying divinities so that no impurities may enter: you make lapis lazuli...

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    • Call for Proposals: Journal for the History of Knowledge

      Thursday, 29. November 2018 - The Journal for the History of Knowledge will be launched in 2020 and is now soliciting proposals for its first annual special issue in Fall 2020. The proposal deadline is January 15, 2019. This official publication of Gewina, the Belgian-Dutch Society for History of Science and Universities...

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    • Knowledge and the Appropriation of Technology

      Wednesday, 28. November 2018 - It is striking how profoundly we have come to integrate technological artifacts into our lives and how commonplace these devices appear to us now. There were times when they were entirely new. Just think of indoor water taps replacing public wells, or electric light bulbs supplanting kerosine...

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    • CfP: Global Knowledge, Global Legitimacy? Transatlantic Biomedicine since 1970

      Friday, 16. November 2018 - Washington, DC, Sept. 6-7, 2019 Application deadine: Dec. 15, 2018 When the French pharmaceutical company Roussell Uclaff, a subsidiary of the German chemical giant Hoechst AG, was ready to introduce an abortion pill in 1988, American activists flooded the company’s headquarters near...

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