William Foote Whyte’s study of Italian immigrants in the North End of Boston was not particularly successful after its release in 1943. In the years after 1970, though, Street Corner Society garnered great success and became, in the words of its author, “the book that would not die.” Paradoxically, specialists in Italian American studies found little to love in the book. Here I argue that a hidden history of gender and ethnic dynamics in the academic production of knowledge can explain the paradox. In the book’s second edition, revised and expanded, Whyte’s ethnographic methods, his penchant for story-telling, and his personal reflections on research provided beginning students in sociology an accessible introduction to qualitative methods in an increasingly quantitative discipline. Specialists, by contrast, saw Whyte choosing to study a depression-era immigrant community in Boston’s North End not out of any interest in immigration or Italian immigrants but as a typical and conveniently located slum—a foil for dated theoretical debates.
Recently there has been a lot of chatter on academic Twitter reflecting on the need to decolonize various academic fields. Such impulses go to the heart of what histories of knowledge are: People produce, use, translate, and pass on knowledge in specific socio-cultural contexts. Knowledge has a history, and much of that history is bound up with the histories of fields and professions.
POSTDOC VACANCY: The Restitution of Knowledge: Artefacts as Archives in the (Post)Colonial Museum, 1850-1939. TU Berlin, April 15, 2020, to April 14, 2022. Application deadline: March 20, 2020. (HT @an_augusti)
CALL FOR PAPERS: The Technology Behind Media Misinformation: The Creation, Detection and Investigation of Fake News. “The Digital Humanities/Digital Scholarship Special Interest Group is calling for presenters to participate in their open session at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Dublin, Ireland, from August 15-20, 2020.” Deadline: March 25, 2020. (HT @SwenSteinberg for this and the next two calls .)Continue reading “Knowledge Notes”
What is the history of knowledge? That bigger question came up more than once at the conference Political Culture and the History of Knowledge, as Kijan Espahangizi and Monika Wulz’s report shows. One helpful response to the debates were the 5 Tenets that Shadi Bartsch initially posted on Twitter for the SIFK.
Workshop at the Centre Marc Bloch in Berlin, February 18-19, 2020, in cooperation with the Leibniz-Institute of European History in Mainz.
Stephanie Leitsch is teaching the 44th International Wolfenbüttel Summer Course, entitled “Early Modern Visual Data: Organizing Knowledge in Printed Books.”
As prints taught viewers how to observe and thus arguably democratized knowledge derived from first-hand experience, this seminar considers printed images as critical visual technology that built knowledge acquisition. . . .
- Fellowship: Binational Visiting Fellow Tandem Program in the History of Migration at GHI Pacific Regional Office in Berkeley. Application deadline: January 15, 2020. (Why migration on a blog about knowledge? See the Knowledge and Migration page on this site.)
- Reading: Martin Collins and Teasel Muir-Harmony, eds., Making the Pacific: Making Japanese-U.S. Relations: Science and Technology as Historical Agents in the Twentieth Century, special issue, Pacific Historical Review 88, no. 4 (Fall 2019): 509–658.
- Call for Papers: “Entangled Pasts and Presents: Temporal Interactions and Knowledge Production in the Study of Hellenistic Central Asia.” Fourth Conference of the Hellenistic Central Asia Research Network. Proposal deadline: November 15, 2019. HT @hsozkult.
- Call for Papers: “Indigenous Knowledges,” special issue of KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies. Proposal deadline: November 30, 2019.
Continue reading “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.