History of Knowledge

The history of knowledge analyzes the production and circulation of knowledge, taking into consideration a broad spectrum of actors, practices, and social contexts. It seeks to understand the creation of knowledge orders and systems along with the power relationships upon which they rest. The development of the field has taken different paths in Europe and North America. Consequently, a central objective of the GHI’s program in the history of knowledge is to spur transatlantic exchange on research methodologies. The history of knowledge also serves as vehicle for collaboration across the GHI’s core research fields and other subfields of history. Notably, the GHI’s Pacific Regional Office in Berkeley “Migrant Knowledge” initiative is supporting research at the intersection of migration history and the history of knowledge.

Photo Credit: The Wealth of the Nation, 1938. Seymour Fogel, Social Security Building (Voice of America).



Innovation through Tradition? Jewish Educational Media and Cultural Transformation in the Face of Modernity Religion, Knowledge, and Education as Key Elements of Socio-Cultural Transformation

German-Israeli cooperative research project bringing that investigates the transformation of Jewish daily life through the prism of its central spaces of teaching, learning and knowledge.

Interaction and Knowledge in the Pacific Region: Entanglements and Disentanglements

A project funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research (March 2019 – February 2022)

Events & Conferences

Apr 19, 2021

Climate Change, Energy, and Sustainability in the Pacific Region: Knowledge, Policies, and Transfers (1970s-present)

Conference at the German Institute for Japan Studies, Tokyo | Conveners: Sarah Beringer (German Historical Institute Washington D.C.), Benjamin Beuerle (German Historical Institute Moscow), Sonja Ganseforth (German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ)) and Yufei Zhou (DIJ); in collaboration with the Max Weber Foundation Research Group at the National University of Singapore and the Max Weber Foundation China Branch Office in Beijing

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Apr 26, 2021

Change in Motion: Environment, Migration, and Mobilities

Workshop at the Pacific Regional Office of the GHI in Berkeley | Conveners: Sarah Earnshaw (Pacific Regional Office of the German Historical Institute Washington, Berkeley) and Samantha Fox (Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility, The New School, New York)

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Apr 29, 2021

Transmission of Intelligence and Information: A History of Artificial Intelligence

Lecture (Virtual) | 2pm ET | Speaker: Rudolf Seising (Deutsches Museum)

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May 18, 2021

In Search of the Migrant Child: Global Histories of Youth and Migration between Knowledge, Experience, and Everyday Life

Virtual Workshop | Conveners: Friederike Kind-Kovacs (Hannah-Arendt-Institute for Totalitarianism Research, Dresden), Sheer Ganor (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis), and Swen Steinberg (Carleton University, Ottawa / German Historical Institute Washington with its Pacific Regional Office at University of California Berkeley)

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May 20, 2021

The Golem: The Artificial Anthropoid from Enlightenment Monster to AI

Lecture (virtual) | 12pm ET | Speaker: Cathy Gelbin (University of Manchester)

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Jun 07, 2021

Mobilities, Exclusion, and Migrants' Agency in the Pacific Realm in a Transregional and Diachronic Perspective

Conference at the University of California, Berkeley | Conveners: Albert Manke (GHI's Regional Office at UC Berkeley) and Sören Urbansky (German Historical Institute Washington)

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Sep 23, 2021

Environments of Exile: Refugees, Nature, and Representations

Biennial Conference of the North American Society for Exile Studies at Queen's University, Kingston, ON | Conveners: Swen Steinberg (Queen’s University, Kingston / GHI PRO) and Helga Schreckenberger (University of Vermont, Burlington)

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Nov 03, 2022

German Migrants and Migrating Knowledge in Latin American History

Conference at GHI Washington | Conveners: Simone Lässig (GHI Washington), Mario Peters (GHI Washington), H. Glenn Penny (University of Iowa), Stefan Rinke (Freie Universität Berlin)

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Sophia Dafinger

Die Lehren des Luftkriegs: Sozialwissenschaftliche Expertise in den USA vom Zweiten Weltkrieg bis Vietnam

Transatlantische Historische Studien. Band 59. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2020.

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Das Pazifikbüro des DHI Washington. Aufbauphase 2017-2019

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Andrea Westermann & Onur Erdur, eds.

Histories of Migrant Knowledge: Transatlantic and Global Perspectives

Bulletin Supplement 15 (2020)

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Bulletin 65 (Fall 2019)

Forum: The Weimar Republic Reconsidered

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Simone Lässig & Andreas Weiß, eds.

The World of Children: Foreign Cultures in Nineteenth-Century German Education and Entertainment

Studies in German History. Vol. 24. New York: Berghahn Books, 2020.

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Axel Jansen, John Krige & Jessica Wang, eds.

Empires of Knowledge

Special Issue, History and Technology 35.3 (2019)

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Jan Logemann, Gary Cross & Ingo Köhler, eds

Consumer Engineering, 1920s–1970s: Marketing between Expert Planning and Consumer Responsiveness

Worlds of Consumption. New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2019.

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Latest News


Watch recording of our event "Public Transport in the Americas: Mobility and Transatlantic Scientific Exchanges"

If you were unable to watch our event "Public Transport in the Americas: Mobility and Transatlantic Scientific Exchanges" live, it is now available on…

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History of Knowledge

Spring Lecture Series “'The spirits that I called': Artificial Life from the Enlightenment to the Present” resumes virtually

The last two lectures from our 2020 Spring Lecture Series have been rescheduled to virtual events after being delayed by the pandemic.

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Intern at the German Historical Institute

Deadline: June 1, 2021 | The GHI Internship Program gives students of history, political science, public relations, and public administration at…

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Watch recording of our event "Vaccines and (Dis-)trust in Medical Science in Times of Crisis"

If you were unable to watch our event "Vaccines and (Dis-)trust in Medical Science in Times of Crisis" live, it is now available on our Vimeo channel.…

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Event Report

Recreating Separate Spheres Across Not-So-Separate Worlds: Gender and Reeducation in Japan, Germany, and the USA after World War II

Conference report by Claudia Roesch (GHI Washington)

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