Space, Science and Claims to European Domination. The Dynamics of Knowledge from the Renaissance through the Enlightenment
This project is devised by a group of historians from different national and intellectual backgrounds, as well as of different generations and academic positions. Its aim is to write a new narrative of European history in a polycentric context, adopting a non-Eurocentric perspective, focusing on science – its history, emergence and worldwide circulation – in a crucial period for the construction of European ‘modernity’. In other words, it aims at historicizing the idea of Europe and its implications as these emerge from the dynamics of knowledge, in conceptual, cultural and spatial perspectives: these issues are addressed in a historical and global perspective, while hypothesizing a dynamic field of internal cleavages within the European continent.
Chronologically the project covers the early modern period, from the Renaissance through the Enlightenment, considered as crucial both for framing the relationship between Europe and non-Europe on a global scale and the consequent rise of what has been called the ‘crisis of the European consciousness’. In methodological terms, the project combines different scales of analysis from the micro to the macro, from individuals to collectives, from cities and states to global space. At the same time it aims at analyzing the diversities of spaces and locations of knowledge with particular attention to the heterogeneity of Europe and the mutability of its borders.
The project is articulated into four thematic clusters, each of them dealing with a specific scale of analysis. Their titles are 1. “Intellectual biographies;” 2. “Knowledge as capital, capitals of knowledge;” 3. “Scientific networks beyond political boundaries;” and 4. “Boundaries of knowledge, boundaries of power.” Each cluster is composed of 10-15 scholars and is coordinated by two members of the leading team, who are in charge of organizing two thematic conferences within the first two years of the program, whose main goal will be to provide a precise conceptual vocabulary (science, discipline, context, centre/periphery…). The coordinators of each team participate in the entire cycle of the eight conferences. The third year is dedicated to developing the four clusters into a synthesis. It will involve the members of the leading team as well as other scholars, chosen for their specific expertise.
The expected outcome of the entire project is one publication per cluster (four publications in total), as well as at least one synthetic publication based on the results produced by the interaction of the four clusters.
Activities in the framework of the project:
- CEU Summer University 2009
- CEU Course and lecture series Winter term 2007/8
- CEU Course Winter term 2008/9
- Workshops in 2007 and 2008
- Antonella Romano (European University Institute, Florence)
- Hans Erich Bödeker (Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin)
- Caren O'Brian (University of Warwick)
- Catherine Jami (CNRS/REHSEIS - Recherches Épistémologiques et Historiques sur les Sciences Exactes et les Institutions Scientifiques, Paris)
- László Kontler (Central European University, Budapest)
- Silvia Sebastiani (EHESS, Paris)
- Borbala Zsuzsanna Török (University of Konstanz)
- Stéphane van Damme (CNRS, Paris)