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Rare Book Workshop, Thurs. Sept. 12, 3:30 - 4:30 pm Free  
Symposium, Fri. Sept. 13, 9 am - 2:30 pm Free  

Share German Science & the Creation of Knowledge in the Atlantic World

Event Details

In the early modern world, natural science was part of an expanding global network, tying Europe to the Americas, Africa and Asia. Where historians once narrated a single Scientific Revolution, focused on a few heroic European figures, they now embrace a larger history that incorporates new centers of knowledge production and a wide range of people who engaged the natural world as scholars, readers, practitioners, and collectors.

On September 12th-13th we bring together leading scholars to discuss the history of science in early modern central Europe and its connections to the Atlantic World. The German-speaking lands, divided by political and sectarian boundaries in the 16th and 17th centuries, were a scene of intellectual ferment. At the same time, travelers to other continents, and especially North and South America, brought back accounts of new peoples and “monsters,” botanical specimens, and information of all kinds, forcing those who traveled, as well as those who never left home, to rethink old ways of knowing the world.

The workshop, lecture and symposium celebrate the exhibition Neue Welt: Germans and the Americas, 1493-1830, in the Macmillan Reading Room at the John Carter Brown Library, curated by Dennis C. Landis, Curator of European Books.



Rare Book Workshop: Thursday, Sept. 12, from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm in the John Carter Brown Library. Led by Dennis C. Landis, Curator of European Books. Free - registration required (limited to 20)

Lecture: Thursday, Sept. 12, from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm in the John Carter Brown Library. Pamela H. Smith, Columbia University: “New Worlds of Stuff: Nature, Books, and Things in Early Modern Germany.” Free and open to the public - reception to follow

Symposium: Friday, Sept. 13, from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm in the Music Room, Rochambeau House (84 Prospect Street). Free - registration required (lunch included)

Lecture and symposium made possible by the generous support of the Program in Science and Technology Studies, Brown University, and the German Consulate General Boston.



Symposium Program

Tara Nummedal, Associate Professor of History, Brown University, and Pamela H. Smith, Professor of History, Columbia University, co-chairs

Christine Johnson, Washington University in Saint Louis: “Categorical Denials: What was German about Science and Transatlantic about the World in the Sixteenth Century?”

Alisha Rankin, Tufts University: Trying and Using Exotic Drugs in Early Modern Germany: The Writings of Johann Wittich (1537-96)

Ulrike Strasser, University of California, San Diego: “Imagining Pacific Ocean Worlds: the Itineraries of a German Map”

Alix Cooper, State University of New York, Stony Brook: “New Worlds in the Old World: German Encounters with Early Modern Nature”


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