(Un)knowledge Is Knowledge

Annual conference of Collaborative Research Center "Episteme in Motion" from June 27 to 29, 2019, in Palais of the Kulturbrauerei to focus on forms and dynamics of the negation of knowledge

No 181/2019 from Jun 17, 2019

This year’s annual conference hosted by the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) "Episteme in Motion" at Freie Universität Berlin will address how knowledge arises or changes, where it experiences rejection, or cannot seem to prevail. The conference will take place from June 27 to 29, 2019, in the Palais of the Kulturbrauerei. It aims to explore the dynamics of the negation of knowledge in pre-modern times. The attendees will discuss to what extent such "negative knowledge transfers" are necessary, productive, or even constitutive for the production of new knowledge. The conference languages are English and German. There will be simultaneous translation for non-German speakers. The conference is public, and admission is free. Registration is required by June 22.

Starting from the observation that episteme can be especially deemed to be in motion when knowledge remains imprecise, or is rejected, unrecognized, or suppressed in the very act of mediation, the 2019 Annual Conference focuses on the relationship between knowledge, transfer, and negation in European and non-European cultures of the premodern era. It is the seventh annual conference organizd by the CRC. A wide range of perspectives and approached will be discussed in plenary sessions and three workshops: How can the indescribable divine be caught between knowledge and unknowledge in the case of negative theology? Why is unknowledge sometimes exhibited in a special way and staged as such? To what extent is there a creative potential in negative transfer processes’ Can the negation of social conventions have an important renewing function in addition to a threat? How do negation and variation relate to each other in this case?

The involved researchers understand negation, on the one hand, as a genuine component of a set mode of knowledge that is bound up with negating, antithetical, or elliptical modes of representation and, on the other, as a category that makes it possible to bring the rejected, the excluded, and the irrecoverable into focus in the re-contextualization of knowledge. Within this framework, epistemic changes at the elementary level of mediation must be examined within the context of their historical placement. Equally, their impact on the history of knowledge and, with it, the structural dimension of negative transfers must be looked into. 

In accordance with the idea of creativity and the impulsive nature of negation, the conference organizational team led by Dr. ‘irin Dada’ and Dr. Christian Vogel chose a converted room, the Palais in the Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauer Berg, as the venue.

Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Collaborative Research Center "Episteme in Motion. Transfer of Knowledge from the Ancient World to the Early Modern Period" is dedicated to the examination of processes of knowledge change in European and in non-European pre-modern cultures.

Program and Registation


Registration is requested by June 22, 2019:


Time and Place

  • Thursday, June 27, 2019, through Saturday, June 29, 2019
  • Palais in der Kulturbrauerei, Schönhauser Allee 36, 10435 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg

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