Produced by the KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment
Raymond Williams once wrote that “Some people, when they see a word, think that the first thing to do is to define it. Dictionaries are produced . . . and a proper meaning is attached. But while it may be possible to do this, more or less satisfactorily, with certain simple names of things, it is not only impossible but irrelevant in the case of more complicated ideas. What matters in them is not the proper meaning but the history and complexity of meanings . . .” (Williams 1980: 67).
This is the spirit of our VideoDictionary. We do not wish to offer the ultimate definition of all the words we use in our professional language. Rather, we aim to understand the history and complexity of some particularly important words that we believe are crucial beyond as well as within the world of the academy. Here you will find definitions, but also genealogies and reflections that can serve as starting points to ignite further discussions.
We envision the VideoDictionary as a teaching tool and hope that teachers and students from all over the world will find the various entries useful for their own specific purposes. Each scholar has agreed to talk for about 10 minutes. It is, of course, a big challenge to cover complex concepts in such a short time. But we believe that the effort is worthwhile, as it makes the VideoDictionary a manageable tool which can be easily integrated into a course without "occupying” it, a series of provocations and illuminations that start discussions rather than ending them.
Let me conclude by thanking the colleagues and friends who have been so generous with their time in working on this project, and those who have already agreed to contribute in the near future.
The KTH EHL VideoDictionary is an idea of Marco Armiero. The VideoDictionary team consists of Marco Armiero, Johan Gärdebo , Santiago Gorostiza , Giacomo Bonan and Marta Pettersson, with the help of Felipe Milanez .