1st Edition

Threatened Knowledge Practices of Knowing and Ignoring from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century

Edited By Renate Dürr Copyright 2022
    266 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    266 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Threatened Knowledge discusses the practices of knowing, not-knowing, and not wanting to know from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century.

    In times of "fake news", processes of forgetting and practices of non-knowledge have sparked the interest of historical and sociological research. The common ground between all the contributions in this volume is the assumption that knowledge does not simply increase over time and thus supplant phases of not-knowing. Moreover, the contributions show that knowing and not-knowing function in very similar ways, which means they can be analysed along similar methodological lines. Given the implied juxtaposition between emotions and rational thinking, the role of emotions in the process of knowledge production has often been trivialized in more traditional approaches to the subject. Through a broad geographical and chronological approach, spanning from prognostic texts in the Carolingian period to stock market speculation in early-twentieth-century United States, this volume demonstrates the important role of emotions in the history of science.

    By bringing together cultural historians of knowledge, emotions, finance, and global intellectual history, Threatened Knowledge is a useful tool for all students and scholars of the history of knowledge and science on a global scale.

    1. Introduction: Practices of Knowing and Ignoring from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century

    Renate Dürr 

    Part 1. Negotiating Uncertainties and the Reliability of Knowledge

    2. What (not) to Read in Times of Crises. Responses to the First Index of Banned Books (c.500 to c.1100)

    Irene van Renswoude

    3. Precarious knowledge and the Problem of Reliability: the case of prognostic texts in the Carolingian period

    Carine van Rhijn

    4. "Doubt all before you believe anything": Stock Market Speculation in the Early Twentieth Century United States

    Daniel Menning

    Part 2: Creating and Misunderstanding References

    5. Knowledge and Violence in a Society Under Stress: Death Penalty Under Charles the Bald (843–877)

    Warren Pezé

    6. Global Encounters – Precarious Knowledge: Traces of Alchemical Practice in Indonesian Batavia

    Martin Mulsow

    7. Biculturalism, Multiculturalism and Indigeneity as a Strategy of Memoria. Canada and Australia Defining Themselves in Times of Threat

    Sebastian Koch 

    Part 3: Knowing and Ignoring as Reciprocal Answers

    8. Rhetoric and Divination in Erasmus’s Edition of Jerome: Ancient and Modern Ways to Save Dangerous, Vulnerable Texts

    Anthony Grafton

    9. "Ignorance is power, as well as joy": Trying to Manage Information in turn-of-the century America

    Susan J. Matt and Luke Fernandez

    10. Corresponding Knowledge: Arguments about Emotions and Entertainment in Berlin and Cairo around 1900

    Joseph Ben Prestel


    Renate Dürr is Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Tübingen. Her research focuses on Jesuit missions within the context of global history and the history of knowledge. Together with Ulrike Strasser (San Diego) she is currently writing a monograph De-centering the Enlightenment: Global Knowledge, Emotions, and Jesuit Practices in a German Cultural Encyclopedia.