Knowledge asymmetries can exist on a qualitative as well as on a quantitative level. Qualitative knowledge asymmetries can rather be described as differences in knowledge – as, for example, an early modern cloth merchant relies on a different kind of knowledge than a well-trained grammatical scholar. This workshop focuses on quantitative knowledge asymmetries, in which a substantial quantitative difference in knowledge that has the same claim to validity exists. In other words, knowledge is spread unevenly within the same field.
If such a knowledge asymmetry attains an objectively quantifiable status, the need to overcome the asymmetry through a range of diverse methods and processes can arise. One example is the didactical aspect of a knowledge asymmetry between a language instructor and students in the context of early modern foreign language study. This leads to another aspect – the legitimization and delegitimization of knowledge asymmetries: Different configurations and factors exist that can be used to justify the preservation of a knowledge asymmetry. This is especially connected to the relationship of power and knowledge. Endeavors to conceal existing knowledge asymmetries can also often be observed. During the rituals of some Confucian academies in East Asia, for example, the most important positions are not given to the highest officials who have proved their knowledge of the Confucian teaching through their success in the civil service examinations. Instead, they are awarded by seniority to respected elders. On the other hand, the authority of women with a quantifiable higher amount of knowledge in a certain field is often not acknowledged or is even devalued.
The objective of the workshop is to survey knowledge asymmetries and their manifestations within different contexts and from diverse angles as well as to document the process of their emergence, legitimization, and dissolution. Knowledge asymmetries are not only to be viewed from a pedagogical perspective, but also with explicit references to other factors, such as social correlatives (age, power, money, etc.). Special focus is placed on different theoretical and/or comparative approaches to “cultural specific” (East – West) or “historiographical” (historical – modern) aspects. The interdisciplinary orientation of the workshop invites multifaceted treatments of the topic of knowledge asymmetries from all perspectives.
Scott Cook (Yale and NUS Singapore)
Regina Jucks (University of Münster)
Kerstin te Heesen (University of Luxembourg)
Fania Oz-Salzberger (University of Haifa) (tbc)
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15.04.2019 - 16.04.2019
Sitzungsraum, SFB-Villa, Schwendenerstraße 8,