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Knowledges: Historical and Critical Studies…
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Knowledges: Historical and Critical Studies in Disciplinarity (Knowledge:…

by Ellen Messer-Davidow

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“The various connotations of ‘discipline’ have until recently been entirely positive; to call a branch of knowledge a discipline was to imply that it was rigorous and legitimate. The name did not reveal that knowledge was produced by regulating or controlling knowledge-producers, nor that the training of disciples produced the general producers, nor that the training of disciples produced the general acceptance of disciplinary methods and truths. The branches of knowledge themselves, as well as what ‘a branch of knowledge’ even means, have changed radically since the classical era.”
“Modern disciplines, however, came into being only with the breakup of natural philosophy into independent natural sciences at the end of the eighteenth century. Moral philosophy broke up somewhat later into the social sciences. ‘The humanities’ is a twentieth-century term of convenience for those disciplines excluded from the natural and social sciences. While modern philosophy was defined by what was removed from it in the creation of the sciences, the other modern humanities emerged first in the form of classical philology, which produced history, modern languages, and even art history as descendents.”
Disciplines partition themselves off from one another through “boundary-work,” which “entails the development of explicit arguments to justify particular divisions of knowledge and the social strategies that prevail in them…When the point is to regulate disciplinary practitioners, boundary-work determines which methods and theories are included, which should be excluded, and which may be imported.”
“To take disciplines as historical artifacts is to refuse to equate disciplinary knowledge with ‘truth.’ This approach to disciplinarity leads away from the issues that have preoccupied philosophy of science and epistemology.”
  profsuperplum | May 21, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0813914299, Paperback)

The editors of this volume have brought together a distinguished and truly diverse group of contributors to examine how all sorts of knowledges have been constituted and to reconsider their constitution.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:50 -0400)

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