EURHO, 2019

Tatiana Voronina participated at the International Conference of EURHO (European Rural History Organisation) at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, Septembre 10-13 2019.

Panel: Rural Epistemologies in Dialogue: The Production of knowledge in Peripheral Regionsin the 19–20th Centuries – Part 2

Organiser: Dietlind Hüchter, Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe
Corinne Geering, Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe

Chair: Joanna Rozmus, U of Vienna

Papers: Matthias Kaltenbrunner, U of Vienna: Betwixt and Between: A Schoolteacher in Rural Western Ukraine
Luciano Maffi, U degli studi di Genova and Martino Lorenzo Fagnani, U degli Studi di Pavia: Epistemological dialogue in rural communities of the Po Valley, 19th-20th centuries. Schools, fairs and reinforcement of sanitation
Manuel Trummer, U of Regensburg: Science, Folklore, Identity. Rural Physicians as Agents of Modernization in mid 19th-century Bavaria
Dietlind Hüchtker, Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe: Body knowledge: Youth and the Countryside during the People’s Republic of Poland

Discussant: Tatiana Voronina, U of Zurich, Switzerland

Modern society has been characterised as knowledge-based. In the 19th and 20th centuries, access to education, the popularisation of science, and mechanical labour have transformed knowledge into a valuable resource. In the case of rural actors, middle class and government-initiated reforms aimed to make knowledge appear unidirectional, as a product of center-periphery relations. Rural people were the subjects of modernization and education, not producers of knowledge. However, recent research has highlighted the role of rural-based producers in knowledge, in particular, the way indigenous and traditional ecological knowledge has contributed to agricultural science and botany. This panel expands such histories, with a focus on rural actors outside of agriculture and husbandry. Instead, the papers in this panel discuss the epistemologies of rural entrepreneurs, craftsmen, physicians, teachers, lawyers and members of various social and political organizations. While knowledge in these fields is still primarily associated with state centres and urban civil society, this panel instead addresses the formation, adaptation and ruptures of modern rural epistemologies that occurred in interaction with central initiatives.
The individual papers discuss the mutual production of knowledge in the fields of education, medicine, health and sexuality, craftsmanship and land property among others in Central Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. In the case studies of these papers, knowledge serves as a prism to focus on processes of interaction rather than the passive notion of unidirectional enlightenment. Thus, the panel addresses the following questions: How did rural epistemologies shape political, social and economic structures? How were rural people overshadowed by more resourceful actors from the centres? What caused cleavages and conflicts? By discussing these and other issues, this panel seeks to deepen the understanding of modern practices of knowledge in the countryside.

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