Kategorie: DHI Washington

Refuge and Refuse: Migrant Knowledge and Environmental Education in Germany

Joela Jacobs observes that “Migrant knowledge figures as a category of absence” in Europe. In Germany, one core issue is knowledge about recycling requirements and expectations. Efforts to teach it “betray an unreflective understanding of cultural identity”: knowing how to separate one’s trash serves as a marker of who belongs. (1,450 words)

The Nuremberg Trials Project: Providing History for All

The GHI benefits tremendously from the help of its many talented interns. The following post was written by GHDI project intern Isabella Auerbach, a student at the University of Pennsylvania, who is majoring in European history. — Editorial note, Href The Nuremberg Trials Project, an ongoing digitization effort by the Harvard Law School Library (HLSL), is an open-access initiative aimed at transporting the documents relating to the 1945 to 1949 tribunals to an online platform. The project, first conceived in the late 1990s, features a highly … Continue reading The Nuremberg Trials Project: Providing History for All

Organizing Knowledge for a Modern Church: The Functional Order of Catholic Libraries in Wilhelmine Germany

In the early years of the twentieth century, Catholic libraries in Germany adopted modernized methods of organization to simplify their use: the arrangement of books by subject, alpha-numeric classifying systems, and card catalogs. The adoption may not seem like much, but in the structure and practice of Catholic knowledge the change was fundamental. How did … Continue reading Organizing Knowledge for a Modern Church: The Functional Order of Catholic Libraries in Wilhelmine Germany

Consumer Engineering and the Rise of Marketing Knowledge, 1920s–1970s

Marketing knowledge—information and analysis concerning markets, consumers, and their behavior—became a crucial asset for businesses and governments during the twentieth century. In 1971, the German-American market researcher Alfred Politz drafted a memoir of his time in marketing research titled “How to Produce Consumers—Methods and Illusions.” Over the course of his career, from the 1930s to … Continue reading Consumer Engineering and the Rise of Marketing Knowledge, 1920s–1970s

Knowledge Notes

Article: “How How ‘Facts’ Shaped Modern Disciplines: The Fluid Concept of Fact and the Common Origins of German Physics and Historiography” by Sjang L. Ten Hagen. Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 49, no. 3 (June 2019): 300–337. Blog post: “Religion as Knowledge” by Kajsa Brilkman and Anna Nilsson Hammar. History of Knowledge @ Lund. … Continue reading Knowledge Notes

The Politics of Measurement: Knowledge about Economic Inequality in the United Kingdom and Beyond since 1945

If you had a conversation about the growing gap between rich and poor almost anywhere in today’s world, you would very likely refer to “the top one percent,” a phrase that evokes the skyrocketing wealth of the superrich. A similar conversation in West Germany in the 1970s or 1980s would have revolved around the latest … Continue reading The Politics of Measurement: Knowledge about Economic Inequality in the United Kingdom and Beyond since 1945

Knowledge about Democratic Silence: Political Science and the Rise of Electoral Abstention in Postwar Switzerland (1945–1989)

In recent decades, a diagnosis of democratic crisis or even of a post-democratic condition has emerged in public debate in many Western states. The rise of electoral abstention, particularly since the 1970s and 1980s, often serves as statistical evidence for this assessment.1 Yet what exactly can abstention tell us about the state of democracy? My … Continue reading Knowledge about Democratic Silence: Political Science and the Rise of Electoral Abstention in Postwar Switzerland (1945–1989)

Knowing Otherwise: The Transatlantic Travels of Creative Thinking Expertise in the 1950s

Brainstorming as a way to organize ideation was first practiced in the United States in 1938 in the advertising firm Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn (BBDO). One partner, Alex Osborn, later described it as “using the brain to storm a problem,” adding that it should be done “in commando fashion.”1 As a method for thinking … Continue reading Knowing Otherwise: The Transatlantic Travels of Creative Thinking Expertise in the 1950s

Mind the Gap: Cultural Cleavage and the Idea of the ‘Common People’

A specter is haunting the current political discourse, the specter of cultural cleavage. More and more observers see the emergence of a socio-cultural gap between a hegemonic, globalist, educated class and an underrepresented, locally anchored underclass. The titles of two studies speak volumes: Cleavage Politics and the Populist Right (2010) by sociologist Simon Bornschier, and … Continue reading Mind the Gap: Cultural Cleavage and the Idea of the ‘Common People’

Projecting ‘World Government’: The Creation of the League of Nations as a Case Study in International Policy-Making

The postwar was, as it often is, a projecting age. Following World War One, political, military, thought, and other leaders resolved to prevent such a catastrophe from ever occurring again. Projects proposed at the Paris peace talks were many and varied in origin, scale, ideology, and so on. More significant, though, was an overarching commonality … Continue reading Projecting ‘World Government’: The Creation of the League of Nations as a Case Study in International Policy-Making

State Knowledge in Central Europe after 1848

What do governments know? When and why have they generated knowledge about themselves, sovereign territories, the functioning of bureaucracies, legal systems, and the effectiveness of legislation? In other words, how have officials made that capacious concept we call the state legible? State knowledge took on heightened importance in Central Europe in the nineteenth century with … Continue reading State Knowledge in Central Europe after 1848

Queer Ancestry as a Problem of Knowledge in Early 20th-Century Germany

Frederick the Great (1712–1786) was not a homosexual. Or so claimed the German physician and amateur medical historian Gaston Vorberg in 1921. Scurrilous rumors about the sexual desires of the legendary Prussian monarch had circulated ever since the eighteenth century. Vorberg sought to debunk them using the tools of critical scholarship and source analysis. In … Continue reading Queer Ancestry as a Problem of Knowledge in Early 20th-Century Germany

Identifying “Indians”: Racial Taxonomy as a Settler Colonial Politics of Knowledge

Canada’s definition and documentation of “Indians” is a project of bureaucratic knowledge production in service of the continued assertion of settler colonial political visions.1 The Indian Act was introduced in 1876 to assert the terms of the political relationship between the Dominion of Canada and certain peoples the Act defines as “Indians.” The Act has … Continue reading Identifying “Indians”: Racial Taxonomy as a Settler Colonial Politics of Knowledge