Blogging Migrant Knowledge – Part II

Migrant knowledge is not so much a concept as it is a research agenda.1 It can foster work on what migrants know about their world, and it challenges us to think more about what societies, including states, know about migrants. In Part I of my reflections on our sister blog, Migrant Knowledge, I highlighted posts that focused on the knowledge of and about migrant children and youth. Here I turn to a rich set of posts that treat societal knowledge about migrants from the perspective of two elite groups, so to speak, the state and its agents, on the one hand, and scholars, here primarily historians, on the other hand. Two additional perspectives appear in these accounts: the entanglement of state knowledge about migrants with the knowledge that migrants develop about the state and its expectations, a big theme here, and the influence that scholarship can have on migration policy and outcomes.

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Knowledge Notes: Books and Archives

Check out "A Motherland of Books: An Essay by Maria Bloshteyn" at Punctured Lines, a blog devoted to "post-Soviet literature in and outside the former Soviet Union."

Written just before the war in Ukraine began, this essay elegizes the home libraries lovingly gathered and treasured by their owners in the Soviet era, these very libraries, with these very editions, that are being bombed today in Ukraine, along with their owners.

HT @YelenaFurman

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Editorial News

Mark Stoneman, one of our cofounders, is leaving the History of Knowledge editorial team. We would like to thank him for his years of engagement, and especially for all his hard work in helping us to conceive and launch the blog. Patricia “Casey” Sutcliffe, a longtime editor at the GHI Washington, will manage the blog going forward.

Learn more about his work on the blog in “Blogging Histories of Knowledge in Washington, D.C.” by Mark Stoneman and Kerstin von der Krone in “Digital History,” ed. Simone Lässig, special issue, Geschichte und Gesellschaft 47, no. 1 (2021): 163–74.

You can read Mark’s many posts on this blog in our archives.

Two Research Assistant Positions

The University of Konstanz has two 50% research assistant positions in the History of Knowledge / History of Alternative Education. Each position within the ERUA Research Group “Reimagining Higher Education and Research” runs until end of 2023 with a possible extension for an additional year, subject to availability of funds. Application deadline: March 31, 2022. 🔗 DETAILS

Indigenous Value Systems as Vessels for Knowledge: An Example from the Pacific Northwest

Wood sculpture of a salmon, whereby the lower half is a human child.

“It may safely be said,” wrote naturalist and U.S. Commissioner for Fisheries Spencer Fullerton Baird in 1878, “that wherever the white man plants his foot and the so-called civilization of a country is begun, inhabitants of the air, land, and the water, begin to disappear.” Particularly salmon at the heart of the thriving Pacific Northwest fishing industry were subject to this “fatal influence.” Baird’s warnings regarding overfishing and habitat destruction were among the earliest written accounts to caution against overexploiting the region’s resources. In other parts of the world, like northern Europe and Japan, it had long been “evident to every one how important it is to carry on the fisheries in accordance with certain well-defined rules based on a thorough knowledge of the nature and mode of life of the fish,” as Baird phrased it. He concluded that such knowledge was crucial for Americans, too, “if the future of the fisheries is not to be seriously endangered.”1 Today, salmon are at five percent of the abundance recorded at the beginning of the twentieth century, and the ecosystem of the Pacific Northwest is perhaps irreparably damaged.2

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Knowledge Notes

CALL: Dialogic Memories of the 1970-90s "Transitions" across the World: Current Practices and Possible Solidarities. This is an online component of the Memory Studies Association conference in Seoul this summer. organized by the working group on post-socialist and comparative memory studies within the framework of the research project Reconstituting Publics through Remembering Transitions. Event: July 11–11, 2022. Deadline: February 15, 2022, with notification by March 1.

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Blogging Migrant Knowledge – Part I

A lot of interesting material has been published over at Migrant Knowledge since its inception nearly three years ago. If the material could just as easily have found a home here, it was produced for our sister website as part of a specific research program linked to a broad network of scholars, on the one hand, and related research activities coordinated by the GHI’s Pacific Regional Office, on the other. The site’s conceptualization is different from ours, but its contributions deserve to be read by all who are interested in histories of knowledge. Indeed, we have occasionally crossposted on both blogs in order to point out this overlap.

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Provenance Research and Attribution Knowledge of Ancient Middle Eastern Art

Until the 1990s, provenance research, or the history of ownership, was mainly conducted to determine the attribution and authenticity of an artwork. Provenance research grew significantly after the Washington Principles of 1998 and the accompanying increased awareness of the issues surrounding Holocaust-era art theft in Europe. Museums are also committed to documenting transfers of ownership of an object to avoid cultural patrimony issues related to questionably exported antiquities and colonial-era acquisitions.

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Upcoming Events

Elaine Leong is speaking tomorrow on “Vernacular Medicine and ‘Agents of Knowledge’ in Late Seventeenth-Century London” as part of the History of Knowledge Seminar Series @ Utrecht University. The event is online, November 24, 2021, 3:30–5:00 pm CET. 🔗 Details

The Volkskundemuseum Wien is holding a conference to think about its photograph collection. “Reimagining One’s Own: Ethnographic Photography in Nineteenth- and Early-Twentieth-Century Europe,” December 1-3, 2021. Hybrid format: Volkskundemusem Vienna and on Zoom. 🔗 Details

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