“Knowledge Ecologies North America: Changing Patterns in a Global Dynamics” is a Bonn-based research project in which scholars from the Universities of Bonn, Cologne, and Mannheim cooperate with colleagues in the United States, Canada, Asia, and other parts of Europe. Our enterprise aims at providing a forum and institutional space for interdisciplinary research and debates on issues of knowledge, its production and flow as well as on processes by which knowledges get translated, adopted, and adapted. Interrogating ‘knowledge ecologies’ we take ecology as our conceptual platform and engage knowledges as ecosystems. As a consequence, our work capitalizes on forms of interconnectedness, processes of interaction, states of interdependency and permeability, as well as on ethical and political implications of knowledge production and circulation. One of our central goals is to transform ecology from the key concept and metaphor that is has become for a multitude of disciplines into a methodological framework for research on the patterns of knowledge production in a global dynamics.
Our project focuses on the United States and Canada as particularly productive ecosystems of knowledge, as spaces that are open to adapt knowledges produced elsewhere and that keep attracting students and scholars on a transnational scale, despite large-scale shifts in global power constellations. In this way, we suggest, North American knowledges are themselves deeply intertwined in processes of globalization which create new patterns in knowledge production and knowledge flow. What kind of practices, though, make North American knowledge ecologies intensely interactive? How do processes of migration and globalization play into this development? How are knowledges transformed while being adapted in contexts outside North America? And how do new patterns and hubs of knowledge production emerge in networked knowledge ecologies? These are some of the questions we raise and seek to answer.