Before the "Two Cultures": Academic Geographies and the Bifurcation of Academic Knowledge
History of Science Colloquium
Few beliefs about the nature of academic knowledge seem to be less problematic and are more deeply ingrained than is the assumption that a wide gulf divides the sciences and the humanities. But like many of the other dichotomies that characterize modernity, this binary opposition is younger than we tend to think. The emergence of the modern bifurcation of academic knowledge constituted one of the most fundamental transformations in the history of knowledge. It changed the very notion of what academic knowledge is and should be. It has since been expected to pertain either to the human or natural realms, which are governed by fundamentally different principles and hence, have to be studied separately. The talk will trace some aspects of this dichotomy by focusing on the institutional setup of European and American institutions of higher education in the long nineteenth century.