10 November, 2015

Episteme in Motion

The Free University Berlin currently features a Collaborative Research Center focusing on the theme of EPISTEME IN MOTION. The multi-year project, which is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation), proposes to examine "…processes of knowledge change in European and in non-European pre-modern cultures. This phenomenon deserves particular attention because there has been and still is a tendency to portray the knowledge of these cultures as particularly resistant to change, a tendency detectable both in the ways such cultures have often seen themselves as well as in the ways they have been described from outside. It is our basic thesis that these cultures are subject to constant processes of knowledge change. But this kind of change occurs over extended periods of time, in a subcutaneous fashion and through the differentiation of already existing knowledge as well as through the tacit integration of novel items, so that the traditional toolkit of the History of Knowledge with its focus on indicators of ‘progress’ within narratives of rupture or revolution is no longer sufficient to describe the phenomena we are interested in." I have just received an invitation to speak at the Center's conference in the summer of 2016, and now the search is on for a topic that would make a meaningful contribution to this fascinating intellectual challenge.