Circulating public knowledge: Towards a new history of the postwar humanities

17:00 - 19:00 | 2 May 2019 | SG1+2, Alison Richard Building, University of Cambridge.

The purpose of this lecture is to demonstrate how a new history of the postwar humanities could be written. Drawing on approaches from the emerging field of the history of knowledge, I will outline a study of the conditions for the circulation of humanistic knowledge in the public sphere of Western Europe in the 1960s and 1970s. By introducing “arena of knowledge” as an analytical concept, I will highlight certain media platforms where circulation of humanistic knowledge occurred, for instance newspapers, paperback series and early television. All in all, the paper underlines the importance of the humanities for a kind of public knowledge in these years and thereby challenges a crisis narrative of the humanities of the postwar period that is prevalent both in autobiographical accounts and established historiography.

Johan Östling is a historian at Lund University, focused on the history of knowledge, but with expertise more broadly in ideas, culture, and politics in Europe's modern history. Currently, he is exploring knowledge circulation in the Swedish press in the 1960s. More details about this lecture will be made available in due course.

Attendance is free but spaces are limited, so please email to reserve your seat.