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 Knowledge is produced, adapted, forgotten, rejected, superseded, expanded, reconfigured, and more—always by human beings (at least in this more-or-less pre-AI age), alone or in communities, always in culturally, socially,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
    • Viral Hive Knowledge: Twitter, Historians, and Coronavirus/COVID-19

      Monday, 23. March 2020 - We are all historians of the present. At least we should be. Many fellow historians of knowledge are currently using a wide variety of media to share their experience and research in an effort to put the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic into context. Twitter is one medium where this...

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    • Knowledge Notes

      Friday, 06. March 2020 - POSTDOC VACANCY: The Restitution of Knowledge: Artefacts as Archives in the (Post)Colonial Museum, 1850-1939. TU Berlin, April 15, 2020, to April 14, 2022. Application deadline: March 20, 2020. (HT @an_augusti) CALL FOR PAPERS: The Technology Behind Media Misinformation: The Creation, Detection...

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    • Eulenspiegel, the Ass and the Learned Doctors of Erfurt

      Wednesday, 26. February 2020 - To learn more about the fun being had here at the scholars’ expense, see Albrecht Classen, “Laughter as the Ultimate Epistemological Vehicle in the Hands of Till Eulenspiegel,” Neophilologus 92 (2008): 471–89. To read the story in English, see The Marvellous Adventures and...

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    • Follow-Up: Knowledge and Politics

      Saturday, 22. February 2020 - What is the history of knowledge? That bigger question came up more than once at the conference Political Culture and the History of Knowledge, as Kijan Espahangizi and Monika Wulz’s report shows. One helpful response to the debates were the 5 Tenets that Shadi Bartsch initially posted on...

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    • An Intimate Knowledge of the Past? Gossip in the Archives

      Wednesday, 12. February 2020 - When the writer Anne Brewster (1818–1892) and the sculptor Harriet Hosmer (1830–1908) met in Italy in 1876, their conversation circled mainly around the recently deceased actress Charlotte Cushman. That itself was hardly unusual—Cushman was the talk of the town. During most of her...

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