The Granddaughter’s Dissertation: Some Thoughts on Knowledge about Migration in 1960s Switzerland

While studying the scholarly literature on immigration in post–World War II Switzerland, the personal dedication in a 1964 dissertation about the “assimilation of foreign workers” caught my attention: “In memory of my paternal grandmother Antonietta Zanolli-Recati, who in 1905 moved with her family from Belluno to Zurich, the land of Pestalozzi.”1 This dedication interests me … Continue reading The Granddaughter’s Dissertation: Some Thoughts on Knowledge about Migration in 1960s Switzerland

Race, Gender, Respectability, and Knowledge

The stimulating blog Black Perspectives has published an online roundtable on Black Women and the Politics of Respectability that includes two posts clearly relevant to the history of knowledge. Instead of exploring the link between education and respectability that is familiar, for example, in European social history, these pieces scrutinize the special role played by … Continue reading Race, Gender, Respectability, and Knowledge

Journalistic Practices and Knowledge Production

In 1903, the Austrian journalist Emil Löbl observed that "many of today's readers" see their newspaper as a "universal encyclopedia," the study of which, they believed, satisfied their duty as "cultivated people" (Kulturmenschen) to stay informed. Whether or not this was a positive development, journalists needed to recognize that "modern readers expected of newspapers the … Continue reading Journalistic Practices and Knowledge Production

The ‘Academic Nachwuchs’ Label in Germany

Ein Forscher, eine Forscherin ist meines Erachtens mit Abschluss der Promotion wissenschaftlich mündig. After earning a PhD, a scholar has, in my opinion, reached academic adulthood. I have only ever heard the German term Nachwuchs in an academic context, which I understood to be a label for people rather junior in the profession, "trainees" or … Continue reading The ‘Academic Nachwuchs’ Label in Germany

Organizing and Communicating Historical Knowledge: Some Personal Observations

In my initial academic encounters with Germany in the late 1980s and early 1990s, one of the things that impressed me was the availability of handbooks as well as specialized encyclopedias such as Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe. The textbook series Oldenbourg Grundriss der Geschichte was a new experience for me.1 Each volume offered concise, chronologically organized surveys … Continue reading Organizing and Communicating Historical Knowledge: Some Personal Observations