Recent Publications from the History of Technology

Karin Zachmann, Sarah Ehlers (Hrsg.): Wissen und Begründen. Evidenz als umkämpfte Ressource in der Wissensgesellschaft, Baden-Baden: Nomos 2019.

Evidence has become a key resource within our knowledge society. At the same time, during the course of the 20th century, negotiations on the validity of knowledge became a political and controversial phenomenon which has since shaped the multiple fields of science, technology, politics, medicine and society. As the diagnosis of a ‘post-factual age’ makes clear: knowledge will not be accepted in modern society per se; instead knowledge operators have to satisfy demands to give validity to their findings. But which practices should they apply for this purpose? How is the validity of knowledge negotiated in different public spheres? Using an interdisciplinary perspective, this anthology examines the dynamics of evidence practices. The authors cover examples from research in the fields of medicine, communication, the economy, science, technology and environmental studies. At the same time, they connect analysis from recent history with current phenomena.

With contributions by Helena Bilandzic, Tommaso Bruni, Sarah Ehlers, Stefan Esselborn, Sascha Dickel, Kay Felder, Mariacarla Gadebusch Bondio, Christine Haßauer, Susanne Kinnebrock, Magdalena Klingler, Emilia Lehmann, Sabine Maasen, Ruth Müller, Jutta Roosen, Helmuth Trischler, Andreas Wenninger, Fabienne Will, Karin Zachmann

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Bernhard Gill, Franziska Torma and Karin Zachmann (Eds.), Mit Biofakten leben. Sprache und Materialität von Pflanzen und Lebensmitteln, Baden-Baden 2018.

This volume addresses plants and food as highly artificial, yet living things and beings. Based on the philosophy of technology of the "Biofakte" (Nicole C. Karafyllis), the authors analyze current and contemporary developments in agriculture and nutrition. Biofacts, it is shown, undermine the traditional distinction between inanimate technology and living nature, and thus the practical attributions and moral expectations associated with it. This ambiguity of crops and food is examined from the perspective of history, sociology, philosophy and design theory. The geographical radius spans Africa and Europe; from the beginning of the 20th century, to the present and its visions of the future. With contributions by Veit Braun; Lukas Breitwieser; Bernhard Gill, Nicole Karafyllis, Johanna Kleinert; Sabine Maasen; Barbara Sutter; Franziska Torma; Laura Trachten; Karin Zachmann.

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Stefan Esselborn: Die Afrikaexperten. Das Internationale Afrikainstitut und die europäische Afrikanistik, 1926–1976, Göttingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 2018.

The International African Institute (IIALC/IAI), founded in 1926 in London, was the first and for many years the most important inter-/transnational organization in the field of African Studies. While its origins lie primarily in the colonial reformist project of creating culturally "adapted" development policies for Africa, the Institute soon achieved substantial scientific relevance as well. By connecting scholars of different nationalities and disciplines, setting scholary trends and topics, and distributing funding, it played an important part in the development of African Studies from colonial amateurs' preserve to an academically institutionalized field of regional expertise in the context of Cold War Area Studies. The history of the IAI not only illustrates the entanglements between African Studies and colonialism. It also highlights the circumstances as well as the consequences of the establishment of knowledge from the humanities and social sciences as (colonial) political expertise, the important role of transnational actors such as the missionary movement or the American philanthropical foundations, as wel as the topographic, disciplinary and intellectual changes and displacements brought forth by the onset of decolonisation and African independence.

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Breitwieser, Lukas: Die Geschichte des Tourismus in Namibia - Eine heterotopische Topologie der Technik, Basler Afrika Bibliographien, Basel 2016


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Mauch, Felix: Erinnerungsfluten. Das Sturmhochwasser von 1962 im Gedächtnis der Stadt Hamburg. Dölling und Galitz Verlag, München/Hamburg 2015.


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Roosen, Jutta/Zachmann, Karin/Belz, Frank-Martin (eds.), Der Lebensmitteleinzelhandel in der Informationsgesellschaft –  Chancen für eine kooperative Verbraucherpolitik?, Cuvillier Verlag, Göttingen 2012


Nina Möllers, Karin Zachmann (Eds.): Past and Present Energy Societies. How Energy Connects Politics, Technologies and Cultures, transcript Verlag, Bielefeld 2012.


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Ulrich Wengenroth (Hrsg.): Grenzen des Wissens - Wissen um Grenzen. Weilerswist: Velbrück, 2012.


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