Dialectics of Counter-Knowledge

A Workshop on Popular Science and the Crisis of Participation

19.04.2024 | 10:00 – 12:00 Uhr c.t. | Campus Westend, IG 1.414, Goethe University Frankfurt

with Nils Güttler (University Vienna).

Between the 1960s and 1990s, various forms of “alternative" knowledge entered the political sphere, challenging established relationships between science, expertise and politics. Social movements – most prominently the environmental, feminist, queer, peace and “Third World" movements – called for new forms of knowledge production and circulation that were closer to “the people". The term widely used was “Gegenwissen": “counter-knowledge" or “radical science" produced in opposition to the perceived hegemony of the military-industrial complex. By enhancing the authority of lay expertise and advocating for a democratization of knowledge production, social movements reinterpreted one of the fundamental principles of democracy – participation – as an “epistemic virtue".

However, in the face of conspiracy theories and science denialism, counter knowledge has lost much of its original glamor. What is the state of "alternative knowledge" today and how can a historical perspective help us to change the view on the ruptures within our current knowledge culture – both, in academia and beyond?

The workshop is a cooperation of the Institute for Cultural Anthropology and the History of Science work group at Goethe University Frankfurt in collaboration with the Institute for Historical Sciences at the University of Bremen. It is organised by Martin Herrnstadt, Timotheus Kartmann, Janine Hagemeister and Catharina Dietrich.

A text to prepare the discussion will be provided after registration for the event at datenpolitikenprotect me ?!uni-frankfurtprotect me ?!.de.

Modern History