Empire of Circulation: Habsburg Knowledge in its Global Settings

Empire of Circulation: Habsburg Knowledge in its Global Settings

The Austrian Academy of Sciences (IKT) in Cooperation with the Austrian National Library and the Austrian State Archives (HHStA)
Vom - Bis
15.04.2019 -
Johannes Feichtinger / Franz L. Fillafer

In October 2019 the Austrian Academy of Sciences will host an international conference that aims to situate Habsburg Central European knowledge afresh in its global settings. Our symposion proposes both a reappraisal of Central European modes of worldmaking as well as of the region’s place in the world of knowledge-production. Within this broader setup of the conference, we invite participants who work on Central European learned societies, universities, academies and research institutes as powerhouses of world knowledge mainly in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
By foregrounding the concept of “circulation” (Kapil Raj), our conference departs from the premise that knowledge is always created in interaction, that is by the exchange and reconfiguration of artefacts, concepts, images, and texts. There is no unmediated knowledge, neither are there primeval and pristine sources lodged in one place of origin only. Circulation makes us aware of situated prerequisites, filters and obstacles, the institutional structures and processes that foster and foil, freeze and reinitiate exchange as the chief engine of knowledge production. It gives leverage to the previously neglected study of brokers and mediators, as well as to the media of translation.
Put in a nutshell, these new perspectives enable us to perform several moves: from methodological nationalism to “relational histories”; from the self-glorification of the West to a global sensibility; from the quest for pure origins to a recognition of the polycentric structure of situated knowledge-production; and from strategies of authentication to a reflexive approach to the past.

How did Central European institutions generate and recirculate knowledge about the world? How can the concept of “circulation” be applied to the varieties of institutionalized scientific knowledge production?

Particular preference will be given to work that creatively reassesses the global range of action of the following key institutions. Possible themes for our conference may include, but are not restricted to:
- The Universities of Habsburg Central Europe
- The Hungarian Academy of Sciences
- The Royal Bohemian Society of Sciences and the Bohemian Francis Joseph–Academy for the Sciences and the Arts
- The Economic Societies (from the Tuscan Georgofili to the Hungarian Georgikon)
- The Royal Hungarian Geological Institute of Budapest and the Imperial Geological Institute of Vienna
- The Central Institution for Meteorology and Earth Magnetism of Vienna and the Royal Hungarian Meteorological Institute at Budapest
- The Ossolineum of L’viv
- The Imperial Academy of Cracow
- The Lombard, Venetian and Triestine Patriotic and Learned Societies (e.g. the Academies of Padova and Rovereto; the Atheneums of Venice, Treviso, Bergamo, Brescia and Salò, the Società Patriotica di Milano, the Gabinetto di Minerva at Trieste)

Please send an abstract of approximately 250 words accompanied by a CV that includes your full contact address
Deadline for submission: April 15, 2019
Notification of acceptance: April 30, 2019



Johannes Feichtinger, Franz L. Fillafer
Austrian Academy of Sciences (IKT)
Postgasse 7/4/2, 1010 Vienna


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