115 books about Knowledge, Theory of and 5
start with W
Ways of Making and Knowing
Pamela H. Smith, Amy R. W. Meyers, and Harold J. Cook, editors University of Michigan Press, 2014 Library of Congress AZ101.W39 2014 | Dewey Decimal 001
“Making” and “knowing” have generally been viewed as belonging to different types and orders of knowledge. “Craft” and “making” have been associated with how-to information, oriented to a particular situation or product, often informal and tacit, while “knowing” has been related to theoretical, propositional, and abstract knowledge including natural science. Although craftspeople and artists have worked with natural materials and sometimes have been viewed as experts in the behavior of matter, the notion that making art can constitute a means of knowing nature is a novel one. This volume, with contributions from historians of science, medicine, art, and material culture, shows that the histories of science and art are not simply histories of concepts or styles, or at least not that alone, but histories of the making and using of objects to understand the world. The common view of craftspeople more or less mindlessly following a collection of recipes or rules—which are said to be fundamentally different from “science” and “art”—has greatly distorted our understanding of the growth of natural knowledge in the early modern period. More intensive examination of material practices makes it clear that the methods of the artisan represent a process of knowledge-making that involved extensive experimentation and observation, in addition to generalizations about matter and nature. As increasing numbers of people came to be immersed in such activities, whether as craftspeople, medical practitioners, merchants, nobles, magistrates, reformers, collectors, or even scholars, the attributes of “nature” were not only articulated in a variety of ways, and not only seen as a resource for human use, but came to be identified with a variety of “goods.” Knowing nature could of course lead to material betterment but for many, living according to nature’s dictates also led to the development of personal ethics and the public good. As natural knowledge became increasingly important in society in these various ways, it forged new connections among groups, helped create new identities, brought about new kinds of claims to authority and intellectual legitimacy, and gave rise to new ways of thinking about the senses, certainty, and epistemology. None of this could have happened without the conversations and controversies that enabled the assessment of objects in novel ways.
Although craftspeople and artists often work with natural materials, the notion that making art can constitute a means of knowing nature is a novel one. This book, with contributions from historians of science, medicine, art, and material culture, shows that the histories of science and art are not simply histories of concepts or styles, but histories of the making and using of objects to understand the world. An examination of material practices makes it clear that the methods of the artisan represent a process of knowledge making that involves extensive experimentation and observation that parallel similar processes in the sciences. Ways of Making and Knowing offers a comprehensive and interdisciplinary history of the ways in which human beings have sought out, discovered, and preserved their own knowledge of the world around them; it has only been through material and human interaction with (and manipulation of) nature that we have come to understand it.
When Maps Become the World
Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther University of Chicago Press, 2020 Library of Congress GA102.3.W56 2020 | Dewey Decimal 526.01
Map making and, ultimately, map thinking is ubiquitous across literature, cosmology, mathematics, psychology, and genetics. We partition, summarize, organize, and clarify our world via spatialized representations. Our maps and, more generally, our representations seduce and persuade; they build and destroy. They are the ultimate record of empires and of our evolving comprehension of our world.
This book is about the promises and perils of map thinking. Maps are purpose-driven abstractions, discarding detail to highlight only particular features of a territory. By preserving certain features at the expense of others, they can be used to reinforce a privileged position.
When Maps Become the World shows us how the scientific theories, models, and concepts we use to intervene in the world function as maps, and explores the consequences of this, both good and bad. We increasingly understand the world around us in terms of models, to the extent that we often take the models for reality. Winther explains how in time, our historical representations in science, in cartography, and in our stories about ourselves replace individual memories and become dominant social narratives—they become reality, and they can remake the world.
In Wild Experiment, Donovan O. Schaefer challenges the conventional wisdom that feeling and thinking are separate. Drawing on science studies, philosophy, affect theory, secularism studies, psychology, and contemporary literary criticism, Schaefer reconceptualizes rationality as defined by affective processes at every level. He introduces the model of “cogency theory” to reconsider the relationship between evolutionary biology and secularism, examining mid-nineteenth-century Darwinian controversies, the 1925 Scopes Trial, and the New Atheist movement of the 2000s. Along the way, Schaefer reappraises a range of related issues, from secular architecture at Oxford to American eugenics to contemporary climate denialism. These case studies locate the intersection of thinking and feeling in the way scientific rationality balances excited discovery with anxious scrutiny, in the fascination of conspiracy theories, and in how racist feelings assume the mantle of rational objectivity. The fact that cognition is felt, Schaefer demonstrates, is both why science succeeds and why it fails. He concludes that science, secularism, atheism, and reason itself are not separate from feeling but comprehensively defined by it.
Working with Paper builds on a growing interest in the materials of science by exploring the gendered uses and meanings of paper tools and technologies, considering how notions of gender impacted paper practices and in turn how paper may have structured knowledge about gender. Through a series of dynamic investigations covering Europe and North America and spanning the early modern period to the twentieth century, this volume breaks new ground by examining material histories of paper and the gendered worlds that made them. Contributors explore diverse uses of paper—from healing to phrenological analysis to model making to data processing—which often occurred in highly gendered, yet seemingly divergent spaces, such as laboratories and kitchens, court rooms and boutiques, ladies’ chambers and artisanal workshops, foundling houses and colonial hospitals, and college gymnasiums and state office buildings. Together, they reveal how notions of masculinity and femininity became embedded in and expressed through the materials of daily life. Working with Paper uncovers the intricate negotiations of power and difference underlying epistemic practices, forging a material history of knowledge in which quotidian and scholarly practices are intimately linked.