In early 2022, the “Center History of Knowledge” (ZGW) in Zurich will close its (virtual) doors. In a statement on its website, the ZGW writes:
“After seventeen years of highly productive and creative work with countless events, publications and collaborations, the members of the ZGW have decided to close the center at the beginning of 2022. The ZGW has achieved its goal and contributed to establishing the history of knowledge as an approach in the historical and cultural sciences. It has fulfilled its mission to promote young scholars in the history of knowledge and to bring perspectives on the history of knowledge into public debates. Given this success, it is time to break new ground. With the conclusion of the ZGW, years of successful cooperation will end, but the insights and networks will remain and some programs will be continued independently: the Master program on the history and philosophy of knowledge MAGPW at ETH Zurich, the doctoral cooperation between ETHZ and UZH, and the academic exchange program with the Cohn Institute of Tel Aviv University, which in the future will also be jointly supported by the Department of History UZH and the Departement GESS (Knowledge section) at the ETH Zurich. With the end of the ZGW, we would like to create space for new, contemporary forms of research cooperation in the history of knowledge at the research location of Zurich. Because one thing is clear: History of knowledge will also be needed in the future.”
This marks the end of an important chapter in the historiography of the history of knowledge. The Swiss historians played a crucial role in establishing Wissensgeschichte as a new scholarly field, especially in the German-speaking world. When we in Lund started to explore the history of knowledge in the mid-2010s, our colleagues in Zurich were a source of inspiration and served as a key point of reference in our discussions. Even if the centre is now dismantled, we hope that we can continue to exchange ideas with the historians of knowledge in Switzerland in the future. Since they are completely right: the history of knowledge will also be needed in the future.
For more information on the ZGW see http://www.zgw.ethz.ch/en/home.html