Amsterdam German Studies Lecture

Writing the Transnational History of Knowledge Flows in a Global Age

The object of transnational history is ‘classically’ defined as a study of the circulation or flow of people, ideas, things and institutions across national borders. Its advocates often seek not only to abolish the national container as the defining framework for historical analysis, but to write history as if national borders don’t exist at all. Historian John Krige will argue that when knowledge and know-how in motion are the object of transnational flows, a variety of constraints on knowledge reinject borders into the heart of the analysis.

This event can also be attended online.

Borders do not disappear; they become key institutional sites at which national actors negotiate just what knowledge is to be shared/denied as it continues on its travel from one national frame to the next. Ironically, a mode of writing history that emerged along with the neoliberal, market driven pursuit of building a borderless world in the late 1980s here reinserts national borders into the heart of the analysis when knowledge-in-motion is the object.

About the speakers

John Krige is Kranzberg Professor Emeritus at the Georgian Institute of Technology. He works at the intersection of the history of science and technology and the history of US foreign relations after 1945. He was the winner in 2020 of the prestigious Francis Bacon Award in the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, based at Caltech in Pasadena.

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