LUCK’s Visiting Fellows 2023

In March, five researchers will for two weeks be visiting fellows at LUCK as a part of our Visiting Fellowship Programme in the History of Knowledge. During their stay in Lund, these scholars – Eva Andersen (Antwerp), Marina Bezzi (Brasília), Anne Brædder (Roskilde), Valentina Mann (Cambridge/Florence) and Thomas Ruoss (Zurich) – will present their ongoing research and interact with other scholars at LUCK.

Eva Andersen

Eva Andersen is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Antwerp. As a historian she is interested in the history of knowledge, history of science, digital history, transnational history, periodical studies, and medical history. Currently she is part of the ERC-funded project “Science at the fair” and studies the social and professional networks of itinerant showpeople during the long 19th century via Union journals. Her latest publications are: ‘Exotische dieren in de schijnwerpers. Onderzoek naar 19de eeuwse rondreizende mengaries’ [Exotic animals in the spotlight. Researching 19th century menageries], faro tijdschrift voor cultureel erfgoed, in press. And ‘From Search to Digital Search. An Exploration through the Transnational History of Psychiatry’ in: Digital History and Hermeneutics. Between Theory and Practice, edited by Juliane Tatarinov and Andreas Fickers. Oldenbourg: De Gruyter, 2022.

Multifaceted knowledge at the funfair

Itinerant funfairs in the 19th century may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about knowledge or information circulation. However, they served as a hub of multifaceted knowledge/information exchange, from practical day-to-day knowledge to scientific knowledge.  The French Ménagerie Pianet, an itinerant zoo/circus, run by the Pianet brothers is a key example of this wide range of knowledge circulation. The menagerie’s exotic animals not only provided entertainment but gave schoolchildren and other visitors the opportunity to learn about these animals’ appearances, behaviors, and eating habits (educational knowledge). Additionally, artists such as painters and photographers frequented the menageries to hone their skills (artistic knowledge), while animal psychologists could conduct trials with their animals (experimental knowledge). When the animals died, they were often donated or sold to natural history museums across Europe to enlarge their collection, and were studied and dissected, enriching the scientific community’s understanding of the natural world (scientific knowledge). Moreover, Emile Pianet’s involvement with the French itinerant showpeople union’s journal “Le Voyageur Forain” allowed for the exchange of information about fairs, financial and social issues, transport problems and provided a forum for discussion among showpeople (practical knowledge).

Working with journals as a source is a way to study various spheres of influence and how they as well as their content stood in relationship to each other. Knowledge/information in its broadest sense could be intertwined on different levels and circulate in different communities by means of announcements or advertisements as well as being republished and redistributed. “Le Voyageur Forain” for example exchanged information with or republished items in “La Ligue Foraine”. The readers of the latter in addition received the socialist journal “L’Egalité”, and vice versa. Other journals, such as “le belluaire et le cirque”, brought together animal trainers, zoos and all others interested in the science and art related to animals. This French journal was promoted and advertised in other publications including “Le Voyageur Forain”, “La revue des animaux” and the Belgian “Comète Belge”. Through these various journals and their relationships to each other, we gain insight into the complex and multifaceted networks of knowledge circulation that took place within and beyond the fairground community.

Marina Bezzi

I am a Lecturer in Early Modern History and Public Outreach Representative at the Institute for the Humanities, Department of History at the University of Brasília. My research interests are colonial and imperial debates, geography, history, communication, and editorial practices from the perspective of the history of knowledge in early modern Europe. I am currently editing my doctoral dissertation about colonialism and worldmaking in early modern England and France into a book and writing an article on the knowledge about time in early modern English recipe collections and household manuals.

Geo-historical knowledge in early modern French and English literature
In this paper, I explore the findings from my doctoral dissertation under the light of recent debates on the history of knowledge in early modern studies. I emphasise the consequential link between transformations in historical and geographical forms of knowledge in late-16th-century Europe. By focusing on the debates on colonial expansion, imperial competition and the editorial strategies of the English scholar Richard Hakluyt and the French historian Lancelot Voisin de la Popelinière, I argue that they developed ambivalent views of Iberian colonial knowledge and a ‘geo-historical’ rhetoric about the world. Such emerging geo-historical knowledge embedded the earliest scholarly French and English debates on colonialism. More importantly for this paper, it ambiguously mixed a rhetoric of European Christian superiority over the world and acknowledgment of one’s capacity to know and learn from world’s different historicities and geographical perspectives.

Anne Brædder

Anne Brædder, assistant professor, Roskilde University. In my previous research I have worked with (mainly feminist) political activism in Denmark in the postwar era, oral history, memory work on industrial history, and “historiebrug” (uses of history) in relation to reenactment and museums. In my current research I bring my interest in how people live with memories and time together with my interest in activism as I work with ideas on time and multiple temporalities in environmental activism in the late 1960s-early 1970s and how these temporal configurations are entangled with environmental knowledges.

New environmental knowledges. New historical times and temporalities

In the middle of the 20th century environmental knowledge moved from a scientific sphere to a public sphere in the Western world. Heidenblad (2021) characterizes it a social breakthrough of knowledge when “a form of knowledge starts to become very important to many people.” He argues it happened in Sweden in 1967 and shows how this environmental knowledge created political agency.

Warde & Sörlin (2015) have in similar veins but in an American and slightly earlier context worked with environmental knowledge that spread to the public. They argue that this new knowledge invoked an “orientation towards the future in it from its beginnings, just as, from the very same time (if not before), one could hardly say ‘nature’ without evoking a certain nostalgia.” Their argument contains a strong link between environmental knowledge and a fundamentally new idea about time. More specifically, they argue that the environment emerges as a “crisis concept, closely wedded to the prediction, and fears of the future.”

I want to continue the work outlined above focusing on the coherence between new public knowledge about the environment, new historical time perceptions and political agency. I’ll do this by turning the attention to a Danish empirical context on environmental activism and political initiatives in the late 1960s-early 1970s and by using historical theories on time and temporality to gain a deeper understanding of the role of temporal configurations in political agency activated by knowledge about the environment.

My hypothesis is that the temporal configurations are more complex and multi-layered than a matter of prediction and fear of the future. First, it’s not only a matter of futurity. The fear of future relies on environmental knowledge about the past and the present as dangerous. Second, theoretically Jordheim (2012; 2014) have argued that temporalities are multiple, which, thirdly, Kverndokk and others, have shown in their work on multiple temporal understandings in current climate discourses. I wonder if these are to be considered a continuation or change from the temporal configurations that the social breakthrough of environmental knowledge brought along. I also wonder whether the strong connection between environmental knowledge and time and the possible plurality of temporalities and non-synchronicity are to be considered a force or a barrier in political agency and action.

Valentina Mann

Dr Valentina Mann is an independent scholar affiliated with the Department of History and Civilization at the European University Institute. She is an intellectual historian of the social sciences and modern expertise in Europe and North America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Her work recently appeared in History of the Human Sciences;she is currently preparing a book manuscript on Franz Boas, anthropology, and the limits of modern science and beginning preliminary archival research for a new project on criminal anthropology and political economy in post-unification Italy.

Franz Boas and the history of anthropology

This article examines recent publications on Franz Boas and the history of anthropology. Departing from an earlier focus on national traditions, such works place Boas in an explicitly transnational and global dimension. These approaches have yielded many new connections but have left unchallenged some of the central assumptions that underpin the history of anthropology. While many claim to decentre Boas from the history of anthropology, they have left unchallenged the traditional focus of Anglophone, specifically American, scholarship on ‘cultures’ as a turning point in the history of anthropology, replacing Boas with another figure who plays the same role in this narrative. Such approaches ignore seminal work written in the past decades on the history of anthropology. This review suggests that the staying power of older approaches in new guises is grounded in the influence wielded by anglophone scholarship and in many scholars’ lasting commitment to the political aspects of Boas’ work on race and culture as first described by George W Stocking, one of the first historians to approach the history of anthropology.

Thomas Ruoss

Thomas Ruoss is Senior Researcher and Head of the BSc Study Program at the Swiss Federal University for Vocational Education and Training (SFUVET) in Zollikofen/Berne. His main research interests are in the field of educational policy analysis and in the history of education with an emphasis on economics education and vocational education and training. In ongoing research projects he investigates heterodox concepts of citizenship education in international comparison, governance of vocational schools, and curricula of upper secondary schools.

Educating Consumers for an Affluent Society: Schooling and the Re-shaping of Citizens as Consumers

As keynote speaker at the World Savings Congress in Vienna in 1963, economist Friedrich von Hayek was invited to talk about the importance of economic education and individual experience with capital to stabilize capitalist economies (ISBI 1963). The enthusiastic welcome of a neoliberal apologist at one of the most important gatherings of global savings and economic educators is emblematic for educational attempts of making consumer citizens in the afterwar period (Arthur, 2012). The 1960ies represent a period during which financial business associations and economic education entered into new alliances. In the German-speaking area, this emerging alliance was shaped on the one hand by the background of “re-education” after WWII and on the other hand by the strong role of savings banks associations. This interaction led to a reconceptualization of citizenship and citizenship education.

With the emergence of post-war consumer societies, new actors entered the scenery of this redefinition in the relation between citizens and the economy. In particular, the idea of the consumer became the center of citizenship concepts – and consumer education became a core task in the production of good citizens (Sandlin & McLaren 2009). As an alternative to the political subject, the consumer citizen’s relationship to society was no longer defined primarily in terms of democratic rights and social integration, but primarily by its economic interaction and its accumulation of human capital. Economic knowledge became key in the making of future citizens. 

Even though (historical) research has generally assumed schooling to play a central role in the stabilization and reproduction of market societies, the (new) history of capitalism and history of knowledge approaches are rather silent about the connectivity between economic knowledge transfer and public schooling. By analyzing the interplay of the efforts of (inter-)national savings banks associations with (compulsory) schooling, this paper asks, how economic knowledge become part of school knowledge – and how this knowledge has changed over time.

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