This project enacts cutting-edge perspectives on the multigenre history of sociological and anthropological reasoning. It represents the first comprehensive study to investigate pieces of nineteenth-century sociographic journalism as formative frames/catalysts of social knowledge and science. These social sketches (often referred to as panoramic literature) provide rich ethnographic micro-analysis and often relate to debates held by statisticians, moralists, folklorists, and ethnologists. However, in the discipline-oriented histories of the social sciences and humanities, journalism has been ignored as a form of knowledge and as a founding genre of modern (disciplinary, academic) social science. By exploring the epistemic significance of sociographic journalism, the project promises to institute a cross-genre, transdisciplinary, and transnational historiography of the evolution of social knowledge and to revise mono-disciplinary and Eurocentric tales of the past and present.
The project has five kinds of outcome: a series of essays, a conference, a public exhibition, a volume, and two monographs. The corpus comprises social sketches and examples of related knowledge frames (travel accounts, philanthropic reports, caricatures etc.) from Western Europe, the German-speaking countries, and (post-)colonial Latin America. The project develops an innovative mix of anthropological/historiographical approaches to examine (1) the representational techniques of sociographic journalism (e.g., methods of constructing social types, the influence of scientific paradigms); (2) how it connects with epistemic developments (e.g., towards materialist and historicizing conceptions of society); (3) its embeddedness in socio-spatial settings and its relations to academic, artistic, and governmental projects; and (4) how the journalistic sketches are to be situated against processes of urbanization, cultural transfer, nation-building, and the institutionalization of academic disciplines.
Field of science
- /humanities/languages and literature/literary genres/essay
- /humanities/languages and literature/literature - general
- /social sciences
- /humanities/history and archaeology/history
- /social sciences/media and communications/journalism
Call for proposal
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