A short article I wrote with Kerstin von der Krone about History of Knowledge, the first blog in the German Historical Institute Washington’s scholarly publishing program, is now open access. See “Blogging Histories of Knowledge in Washington, DC,” in “Digital History,” ed. Simone Lässig, special issue, Geschichte und Gesellschaft 47, no. 1 (2021): 163–74.
Crowds lining up to get their letters and newspapers at the post office on Pike and Clay Streets, San Francisco, California, ca. 1850. This was a decade before the east… Read more Getting the News →
“The Children Were Watching,” dir. Robert Drew and Richard Leacock, USA 1961, 25 min. — This documentary doesn’t feel as old to me as I wish it did. In part that’s because I watched it in Trump’s America during an especially difficult year, but something deeper is at play. The film’s ongoing relevance represents an ambiguous answer to its directors’ main question: What were the children of a New Orleans neighborhood learning as they watched their parents during the conflicts surrounding school integration in November 1960?
“Naomi [who denounces ‘climate alarmism’] said her political activism was sparked a few years ago when she began asking questions in school about Germany’s liberal immigration policies. She said the backlash from teachers and other students hardened her skepticism about mainstream German thinking.”
— Desmond Butler and Juliet Eilperin, “The Anti-Greta: A Conservative Think Tank Takes on the Global Phenomenon.”
Yes, our cognition is bound up in our social existence, as Ludwik Fleck noted in 1935.
My latest editorial project: Migrant Knowledge, a blog with Andrea Westermann and Swen Steinberg for the German Historical Institute Washington.
Cross-post from History of Knowledge 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… Read more Organizing and Communicating Historical Knowledge: Some Personal Observations →
Sometimes disseminating the results of experiments, demonstrations, or other research can yield widely accepted knowledge built on questionable foundations through a kind of distorted translation. This seems to have happened… Read more Lost in Translation: The Stanford Prison Experiment →
We tried something new in connection with a conference called Learning by the Book. The conveners asked participants to submit a blog post to History of Knowledge in lieu of… Read more Blogging before Conferencing →
I blogged some thoughts on this compelling image recently at History of Knowledge.
False information gains strength from its roots in stories that make sense to a lot of people; mow down the latest false facts and more will soon sprout until we address those stories themselves—and the reasons people believe them.
– Paul, J. Croce, “What We Can Learn from Fake News,” History News Network, July 23, 2017, http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/166400.
In a blog post earlier this month, “From Cultural History to the History of Knowledge”, Johan Östling and David Larsson Heidenblad examine the attraction and potential utility of the history of knowledge as an historiographical approach. Particularly helpful is their attempt to tease out its relationship to cultural history.
Blogged on History of Knowledge in honor of May Day: “Sources: Child Labor in the United States”
I’ve been off RSS readers for a while, in part because of Google’s exit from the game, but also because of information overload. Thinking about using it again and revisiting some old stomping grounds in the blogosphere, I found Dan Cohen’s relevant comments on Ann Blair’s Too Much to Know. Seems I am in good company with my occasional ignoring of information—ignoring that I prefer to think won’t lead to, might even prevent, ignorance. I treat Twitter rather cavalierly too, as if it were a place to hang out, learn… Read more Information, Sociability, Reality Check →
I had fun putting together a variety of old photographs for the History of Knowledge blog. You can view them in a high-resolution slide show here: “Photographs: Organizing, Teaching, Storing,… Read more Old Photographs →
“After fleeing the Nazis, many Jewish refugee professors found homes at historically black colleges. And they were shocked by race relations in the South.” — Heather Gilligan on Timeline, February 10, 2017.
The polarizing contemporary debate on science in the United States could be extraordinarily interesting for historians of knowledge, if it were occurring in the past. Still, if we could divert… Read more The History of Knowledge and Contemporary Discourse on Science →
“Cognition is the most socially-conditioned activity of man, and knowledge is the paramount social creation [Gebilde].”
—Ludwik Fleck, Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact, translated by Fred Bradley and Thaddeus J. Trenn (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1979), Kindle ed., chap. 2, sec. 4.
I’ve been taking some time to think more about a slow-moving article on Wilhelm Groener I’ve been working on. It has received a big boost recently from the GHI’s… Read more Preparing to Fight the Last War? Maybe Not →
One of the new research focuses at the GHI since our director, Simone Lässig, began her tenure last October is the history of knowledge.1 The study of knowledge in its… Read more A Few Notes on the History of Knowledge →
My research deals with war and society, while my editorial work addresses mainly consumption history. One might think these are two different worlds, but I’m coming to doubt the validity of such assumptions. Indeed, the subfields of military and business history have a lot of similarities. Most obviously, they are both interested in organizations, knowledge, experts, and elites—among other things. They are also both informed by a tension between the historian’s ethos to understand the past for its own sake and the practitioner’s desire to learn lessons from that past… Read more Military History and Business History →