History of Knowledge

Seminar Series @ Utrecht University : :


 Medieval pattern poems from Rabanus Maurus’s De laudibus sanctae   crusis (9th century)  

12 March: Lorraine Daston
’Knowledge Has Its Own Rules - And They Have a History’

‘The promising new field of the history of knowledge has been mostly defined by what it is not, namely the modern natural sciences. As a result, the history of knowledge threatens to become a miscellany, embracing practical know-how, the academic humanities disciplines, various ethno-studies (ethnobotany, ethnomusicology, etc.), and much, much else. The challenge is to give the history of knowledge its own shape and coherence, without losing the scope and openness to new topics that are its main attractions. One possibility might be to look at a form of rationality that is both ubiquitous but multifarious: attempts to order and codify ways of doing and knowing by rules, whether the subject matter is the weather, carpentry, or grammar. Because the modern natural sciences also formulate rules (e.g. natural laws), this approach might serve as a model for investigating knowledge and science together, rather than in opposition to one another.’

︎ This talk is co-sponsored
by the Descartes Centre and
the Evert Willem Beth Stichting

24 September: Peter Burke 
’Local Knowledge(s)’ 

‘Taking an overview of Europe over the last 500 years, and focusing on encounters between cultures, I should like to distinguish two recurrent attitudes on the part of scholars and scientists to local knowledges, the knowledges current in other cultures or among artisans or peasants in their own culture. The negative attitude, which has been the dominant one for a long time, has been to dismiss these claims to knowledge as false. The positive attitude has been a minority one, but it is already visible in the Renaissance, became more important in the Enlightenment, declined in importance in the 19th century but revived in the 20th, when it even became institutionalized in the discipline of anthropology.

︎ This talk will take place online (via Microsoft Teams)