Graduate School of the Arts and Humanities Blog

Titelbild TransHumanities 2020

Summer School 2019 – Abstracts Morning Lectures

Trading Zone or Translation? Knowledge Formation through Displacement

Doris Bachmann-Medick

How do “sites of knowledge“ emerge in a globalized world? This talk focuses on knowledge as a compo-site rather than a mere “site“ – as a complex dynamic that unfolds especially through processes of displacement: emerging from shifts and transversal relations between different systems or genres of knowledge such as research, art, common knowledge, social media, etc. Such intersections reach beyond hybridized or mixed constellations. They are challenges for intervening or mediating practices. In this respect, my talk discusses the concept and practice of the “trading zone“ trying to transfer it from science studies to the study of culture. Could the elaboration of this concept provide new insights into processes of social and cultural knowledge formation, too? Could it also be a useful practice for managing communication between different registers of knowledge in cultural and medial encounters – between artistic articulations, political conversations, social actions, museum displays, lay knowledge, and scholarly expertise? At issue here is the attempt to find a common “exchange language“. But, don’t we need more than just a shared language? Perhaps also an activation of senses, emotions, and practical skills, of common concerns and reference points – stimulated through displacements? For exploring this complex field my talk suggests to elaborate a specific mode of a social and cultural practice that is embedded in “translational epistemologies“. At issue is in any case a practical turn of knowledge – to be reached by 1) a different scaling (from global thinking towards local acting), 2) by scrutinizing and activating travelling concepts (that transform ideas into practices, actions, collaborations, and participations), and 3) by looking for new and other forms of generating knowledge (through linking different fields, be they those of social action or symbolic representation).


Mandatory reading (available here):

  • Bachmann-Medick, Doris 2014:  From Hybridity to Translation: Reflections on Travelling Concepts. In: The Trans/National Study of Culture: A Translational Perspective, Doris Bachmann-Medick (ed.),  De Gruyter, pp. 119–136.
  • Galison, Peter 1999: Trading Zone: Coordinating Action and Belief (1998 abridgment).” In: The Science Studies Reader, Mario Biagioli (ed.), Routledge, pp. 137-160.
Write a comment

Please consider our comment policy.

* labeled fields are required.

Sie müssen angemeldet sein, um kommentieren zu können.

Universität Bern | Phil.-hist. Fakultät | Walter Benjamin Kolleg | Graduate School of the Humanities | Muesmattstrasse 45 | CH-3012 Bern | Tel. +41 (0)31 631 54 74
© Universität Bern 14.04.2016 | Home