“I Know What I Know”: The Crisis of Knowledge in the Renaissance and its Relevance in Today’s America
Over the last decades, we have witnessed the erosion of trust in the creators of knowledge together with growing resistance to new advances in research and interpretations across a wide span of disciplines ranging from the bench sciences to the cultural and social sciences. These developments raise questions about the nature of knowledge, specifically its internal creative processes and elicited responses. This presentation explores the historical development of knowledge and how it reflects the surrounding historical moments alongside the underlying cultural and political environments: how the knowledge “establishment” develops, and how it is toppled. We will concentrate on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a period in the West associated with what came to be known as the “crisis of knowledge.” In the process, we will have opportunities to reflect on our contemporary conditions.
Mark Szuchman took his doctorate in Latin American history at The University of Texas, Austin. He has been a professor in the departments of history at the University of Miami, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the National University of Uruguay, and is Professor Emeritus at Florida International University. His publications – five books and over forty articles – focus on Argentina, urban and family history in Spanish America. He has been the recipient of grants from the Fulbright Progam, The Social Science Research Council, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others.