Keynote of the Connecting Theme Conference: “Contested Knowledge in a Connected World”

The conference „Contested Knowledge in a Connected World” brought together institutes of the Max Weber Foundation and their researchers from the large-scale research project “Knowledge Unbound: Internationalisation, Networking, Innovation in and by the Max Weber Stiftung”. The project, which is now coming to an end, pursued the aims of opening up innovative areas of research, strengthening the internationalisation of the foundation’s activity and expanding cooperation between the foundation’s institutes and external partners.

The geographical areas covered in the conference included, in addition to Europe, key regions such as the Near and Middle East, the Pacific and Atlantic regions, and the former “Eastern Bloc”. The academic disciplines comprised, in addition to various brands of history, also anthropology, art history, Islamic studies, economics, and sociology. By exploring knowledge relationships and practices in various current and historical contexts, such as migration, mobility, gender, environment and capitalism, the truly transregional conference showed the high potential of the humanities assembled within the institutes of the Max Weber Stiftung in making sense of global issues with high local and regional relevance. Different media, exhibits as well as podcasts and public panel discussions, were utilized, too, in an attempt to share the results of the project with a wider audience.

In his keynote address – which we reproduce here in German – Herfried Münkler called upon the Humanities to actively engage in what he called Gesellschaftsberatung, i.e. at the science-society interface, as opposed to the science-policy interface of the political and social sciences, which do Politikberatung. In this vein he discussed the need for so-called inter-discourses to be added to the specialized discourses of academia. Max Weber’s writings were mostly such discourses at the science-society interface – and their legacy to the Humanities today could be seen as providing the kind of ‘deliberative knowledge’ needed to counterbalance the practical knowledge produced by policy advisers.       

Please find the text of the key note here.

Please find the program of the conference here.

The Opening Directors’ Discussion Panel
“Knowledge Unbound: Multiple Perspectives on a Transregional Research Project/Group”

Max Weber Stiftung

The Max Weber Foundation promotes global research, focused on the areas of social sciences, cultural studies and the humanities. Our research is conducted at ten institutes in various countries across the globe with different and independent fields of focus. Through our globally operating institutes, we are able to contribute to the communication and networking between Germany and our host countries or regions. By promoting academic dialogue and merging academic and non-academic employees from several countries with different cultural backgrounds, the Max Weber Foundation is able to strengthen the internationalization of research.

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