The GHI is sponsoring a panel series at the GSA in October 2017. The exact dates, times, and papers have yet to be announced, but the call for papers explains what it is about.
Panel Series at the 40th Annual Conference of the German Studies Association in San Diego, September 29 – October 2, 2016
This panel series focused on a field of research that is emerging at the intersection of the history of knowledge and the history of migration.1 This dynamic field, as series organizer Simone Lässig emphasized in her opening remarks, offers potential not only for historians but also for scholars from other disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Up to this point, the historiographies of migration and of knowledge have not had much to say to each other. State, NGO, and academic actors have produced knowledge about migration and migrants, and the production of this knowledge is sometimes studied. We know little, however, about how knowledge was used, produced, and mediated by the migrants themselves. We can fill this gap, we can shed new light on migrants as actors, Lässig argued, by linking the two research fields. In this way, we can learn how migrants acted as bearers, translators, and producers of knowledge in their old and new homelands. It is also possible to investigate how and the degree to which migrants were able to convert the knowledge they brought with them into usable cultural capital in new social, economic, and cultural contexts.
Little more than a year has passed since Simone Lässig added the history of knowledge as a research focus at the GHI. In this short time, the institute has hosted or been otherwise involved in a number of events related to this field. We have gathered them in one list as a kind of year-end stocktaking.
Knowledge in Flight: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Scholar Rescue in North America
“The German Historical Institute, The Leo Baeck Institute and The New School for Social Research are organizing a workshop on the movement of scholars from perilous and intellectually-oppressive political situations to new environments that have allowed them to continue their work or even thrive in their chosen discipline…
“Workshop papers might focus on one or more of the chapters of scholar rescue in history — Jewish émigrés from fascist Europe in the 1930s and 1940s, East European and Russian émigrés during the Cold War, and Latin American intellectuals escaping military dictatorships from the 1960s to the 1980s. Papers could also focus on contemporary issues in scholar rescue, connecting to Africa, Asia, or the Middle East…” (Further details)
“The GHI in cooperation with the BMW Center for German and European Studies at Georgetown University is now offering German and North American scholars the opportunity to develop binational research tandems which link up two academics, one from Germany and one from North America, to work on projects on the history of knowledge…”
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.