Knowledge Notes

Visiting fellowship: Lund, Sweden, 1–2 weeks. Next deadline: November 1, 2019.

Journal: The next issue of Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte / History of Science and Humanities (Wilely) contains a number of English-language articles framed explicitly in terms of “knowledge,” including the next two items in this list.

Article: Suzanne Marchand, “How Much Knowledge is Worth Knowing? An American Intellectual Historian’s Thoughts on the Geschichte des Wissens,” Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Early View, August 13, 2019 (paywall),

Abstract: This essay investigates the origins and assesses the advantages and disadvantages of the new field known as Wissensgeschichte from the perspective of an American intellectual historian. It argues that while some historians of science may be ready to embrace a new identity as “historians of knowledge,” this terminology remains baggy and invites facile applications of Foucauldian theory. The essay concludes with the hope that the “history of knowledge” approach may instead open up new avenues for conversation and collaboration between historians of science and ′garden variety′ historians.

Article: Sven Dupré and Geert Somsen, “The History of Knowledge and the Future of Knowledge Societies,” Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Early View, August 13, 2019 (open access),

Abstract: The new field of the history of knowledge is often presented as a mere expansion of the history of science. We argue that it has a greater ambition. The re‐definition of the historiographical domain of the history of knowledge urges us to ask new questions about the boundaries, hierarchies, and mutual constitution of different types of knowledge as well as the role and assessment of failure and ignorance in making knowledge. These issues have pertinence in the current climate where expertise is increasingly questioned and authority seems to lose its ground. Illustrated with examples from recent historiography of the sixteenth to twentieth centuries, we indicate some fruitful new avenues for research in the history of knowledge. Taken together, we hope that they will show that the history of knowledge could build the expertise required by the challenges of twenty‐first century knowledge societies, just like the history of science, throughout its development as a discipline in the twentieth century, responded to the demands posed by science and society.

Article: Claudia Roesch, “Love without Fear: Knowledge Networks and Family Planning Initiatives for Immigrant Families in West Germany and the United States,” Bulletin of the German Historical Institute 64 (Spring 2019) (gratis open access),

Recent events: The same issue of the GHI Bulletin contains a number of conference reports related to the history of knowledge.

Hashtag: #hss19 from the History of Science 2019 meeting in Utrecht, July 23–27, 2019.