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 Knowledge is produced, adapted, forgotten, rejected, superseded, expanded, reconfigured, and more—always by human beings (at least in this more-or-less pre-AI age), alone or in communities, always in culturally, socially,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
    • 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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    • The Politics of the Handbook

      Tuesday, 31. July 2018 - Readers of this blog may have asked themselves what the image identifying the Learning by the Book contributions shows. At first glance, the photo simply contains a row of worn, bound, heavy handbooks on a library shelf. The books are arguably very European and modern; however, they convey an...

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    • Producing Ignorance: Racial Knowledge and Immigration in Germany

      Wednesday, 25. July 2018 - We are members of knowledge societies, but we live in “an age of ignorance.” We are swimming in “oceans of ignorance” that have been consciously, unconsciously, and structurally produced “by neglect, forgetfulness, myopia, extinction, secrecy, or suppression.”[1] Little wonder, then...

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    • 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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