Knowledge Flows in a Global Age: A Transnational Approach
A transnational approach to understanding and analyzing knowledge circulation.
The contributors to this collection focus on what happens to knowledge and know-how at national borders. Rather than treating it as flowing like currents across them, or diffusing out from center to periphery, they stress the human intervention that shapes how knowledge is processed, mobilized, and repurposed in transnational transactions to serve diverse interests, constraints, and environments. The chapters consider both what knowledge travels and how it travels across borders of varying permeability that impede or facilitate its movement. They look closely at a variety of platforms and objects of knowledge, from tangible commodities—like hybrid wheat seeds, penicillin, Robusta coffee, naval weaponry, seed banks, satellites and high-performance computers—to the more conceptual apparatuses of plant phenotype data and statistics. Moreover, this volume decenters the Global North, tracking how knowledge moves along multiple paths across the borders of Mexico, India, Portugal, Guinea-Bissau, the Soviet Union, China, Angola, Palestine and the West Bank, as well as the United States and the United Kingdom. An important new work of transnational history, this collection recasts the way we understand and analyze knowledge circulation.
Praise for Knowledge Flows in a Global Age: A Transnational Approach
“Over the past decade, Krige has positioned himself as one of the foremost scholars investigating the seemingly simple yet, in truth, incredibly intricate and complicated issue of how and why knowledge moves around. Whereas his previous work focused on the power, utility and impact of scientific networks during the twentieth century, particularly in the nuclear field, Krige has now moved into the even broader field of knowledge mobility itself. . . . Similar to its predecessor, [Knowledge Flows in a Global Age] once again challenges us to rethink our taken-for-granted assumptions of how and why knowledge moves around, and what factors prevent it from doing so (or, more directly, what factors may deny the designation of knowledge in the first place). It is, for this reason, a richly stimulating collection the significance of which, true to its transnational outlook, transgresses standard disciplinary assumptions, disrupts interpretive frameworks and asks us to reconsider our own roles as academics in these processes.”
— Annals of Science
“The volume shows clearly that the very idea of ‘progress’ is wrought with tension, where some actors are constricted by the liberal contractual framework and are expected to generate profits, while others seek to establish asymmetric relations in the contest for the military and technoscientific superiority. Knowledge Flows in a Global Age reads as a compendium of the complexities of transnational knowledge transfer questioning the notion of effortless globalization. It does important work that will certainly be useful for a wide range of scholarship.”
"Krige and his collaborators have assembled a powerful array of studies that reconfigure conventional narratives about how knowledge flows. Divided among historical case studies related in some way or another to national and economic security, on the one hand, and agricultural exchanges, on the other, the volume avoids the usual binaries of Global North and Global South—or of guns and butter—emphasizing the efforts to block, shape, or redirect the flow of knowledge. The cast of characters and the variety of regions is massively expanded, to excellent effect."
— Michael D. Gordin, Princeton University
“For too long, ‘global’ histories of science have envisioned an antiquated hydraulic mechanism, pumping out authorized knowledge from northern laboratories to southern deserts. At last, this book reveals instead the densely and intricately reticulated worldwide networks transmitting the concepts and practices of modern science. Abandoning the imperial optic for such multi-sited transnational perspectives makes global science look truly different and far more compelling."
— Warwick Anderson, University of Sydney
"An excellent, absorbing, and refreshingly revisionist collection of cutting-edge studies by eminent scholars in the transnational history of modern science and technology, organized and edited by a pioneer in the field. Integrating enlightening empirical examinations with penetrating analyses, the volume illuminates brilliantly forces that both propelled and blocked knowledge flow across national borders."
— Zuoyue Wang, California State Polytechnic University