Ander(e)s Wissen

The Hub of interdisciplinary Knowledge Research

The Forum Ander(e)s Wissen is fashioned as an intellectual hub for the wide range of critical, artistic and experimental approaches in interdisciplinary knowledge research. From perspectives primarily anchored in the cultural and social sciences, we ask what all knowledge is, how knowledge comes into being, and how we can think about and track down knowledge in new ways. We offer a platform for the examination of established categories of knowledge, but even more so for those types of knowledge that fall through the common and historical grids of North Atlantic institutionalised epistemology(s). Where there is cultural diversity, there is epistemological diversity, and we want to learn from it.


The Robert Wichard Pohl Teaching Collection
funded within the framework of the programme call "Pro*Niedersachsen – Kulturelles Erbe – Sammlungen und Objekte"

From around 1920, the experimental physicist Robert Wichard Pohl (1884-1976) developed an innovative teaching concept in Göttingen: he constructed special set-ups for demonstration experiments that were shadow projections cast onto the lecture hall. Starting in 1930, a three-volume textbook was published for this purpose, which has appeared in 24 editions to date and in which silhouettes of numerous experiments are printed. The media combination of textbook and experimental set-ups, which were published in series by "Spindler & Hoyer. Mechanische und optische Werkstätten" in Göttingen, was a top export publication in physics education with worldwide success.

Objects from the Pohl teaching system can also be found at university locations outside Europe and are still used in some cases. At the I Physikalisches Institut of the University of Göttingen, Pohl's impressive experiments are still an essential part of the introductory lecture. They use the original historical objects which attracted so many listeners from other disciplines to the physics lecture in the 1930s to 1950s – so many, in fact, that the lecture hall had to be enlarged.

Within the framework of the research project, an investigation of the 'Pohl teaching system' will be carried out from the perspective of material culture studies. For this purpose, we will draw on the teaching collection of the I Physikalisches Institut, participant’s observation during lectures, interviews with contemporary witnesses of the teaching practice, film documentation of experiments and archival records. This analysis of a teaching practice that is both contemporary and historical is intended to work out which principles underlie Pohl's teaching and its great success in the first half of the 20th century and to what extent the medium of shadow projection was decisive for this. Special attention will be paid to the interactions between performance practice and its material foundations.

[More...] (in German)

The "Exhibiting Knowledge| Knowledge in Exhibitions" Doctoral Research Group
gefördert von der VolkswagenStiftung im Rahmen ihrer Ausschreibung Wissenschaft und berufliche Praxis in der Graduiertenausbildung

“Exhibiting Knowledge| Knowledge in Exhibitions. An Epistemic History of Exhibitions in the Second Half of the 20th Century” is a doctoral research group at Georg August University in Göttingen, Germany. The research group is a one-time, four-year doctoral programme in which seven selected doctoral candidates and one post-doctoral student conduct research into the history of exhibitions with the aim of publishing their findings as part of their respective dissertations. The group receives funding from the VolkswagenStiftung as part of a programme called Humanities, Cultural Studies, Social Sciences and Professional Practice in Graduate Education. The graduate and post-doc fellows involved in the “Exhibiting Knowledge| Knowledge in Exhibitions” group investigate the interdependent field of knowledge production and museum exhibitions in eight key areas: colonialism, migration, war, ethnology, Vikings, images, ethics and science. The group carries out its activities in cooperation with several museums in Germany and abroad, and each fellow undertakes a year of practical study designed to enhance their historical perspective and provide them with tangible experience in the conception and production of exhibitions.


Material Cultures of Intellectual Exchange between Germany and Russia
Cooperation with Anna Kotomina from the Polytechnic Museum and the Russian State University for the Humanities Moscow, RGGU (DfG funding for research initiation)

The project will investigate the intensive exchange between Russia and Germany around 1900 during the formation of an international research community. During this period, the methods of experimental psychology became established in areas beyond psychology (in industry, education and the arts). The initial question in view of this development is: How were the international standards for measuring the human anatomy distributed and how did their disciplinary delimitation come about? This question will be examined using the transfer of knowledge between Germany and Russia as an example. For a deeper understanding of the research in both countries, the material culture of knowledge transfer will be examined (instruments, images, laboratory objects), which, in contrast to the largely known written exchange of scientists, has hardly been studied. The decisive sources for this are scientific collections in the fields of physics and psychology, which can be found in the Medical History Museum in Moscow and the Psychological Institute in Leipzig, among others. In Göttingen, the collections of the physics institute, astrophysics and the model chamber would be relevant. The thesis of the project is that by including the materials circulated between the scientists, a different history of intellectual exchange becomes comprehensible.

Knowledge Practices. Images in the History of the Experimental and Applied Life Sciences.
Project carried out together with Jana August at the ZfL Berlin

The project examines the use of images in perceptual research. The guiding considerations are that images (such as stimulus images, model images or test images) play a decisive role in the emergence of knowledge, that they act as mediators between experimental practice and theory generation, and that they have an effect far beyond the scientific realm (for example, when they are transformed by artists). The aim is - in the sense of historical epistemology - to trace the spread of knowledge gained with the help of images and to get a view of its medial, political and social implications. Particular attention will be paid to the aesthetics of knowledge, while at the same time the project will put into perspective the prerequisites of a current conjuncture of empirical research.

The question of the epistemic function of images will be examined using two case studies from 19th century perception research.

  • Sehstörungen. Grenzwerte des Visuellen in Künsten und Wissenschaften
    edited by Anne Kathrin Reulecke and Margarete Vöhringer.