News

Call for Papers/Presentations: Fall 2016

June 3, 2016
The Early Science Working Group in the History of Science department is seeking graduate students to present work-in-progress in the 2016 Fall semester. The working group will meet twice or thrice a month, at 5 pm on Tuesday, in Science Center 469. Students working on all geographic regions and time periods up to the 19th-century CE are welcome to apply. We are open to pre-circulating papers as well as hosting presentations. Please email Read more about Call for Papers/Presentations: Fall 2016
Surekha Davies (Western Connecticut State University) - “What is a Werewolf? Genres, Practices, and Cataloguing Monsters from the Middle Ages to the Scientific Revolution”

Surekha Davies (Western Connecticut State University) - “What is a Werewolf? Genres, Practices, and Cataloguing Monsters from the Middle Ages to the Scientific Revolution”

April 17, 2014

SC 469, 5pm – Co-sponsored by the Early Modern History Workshop and the Humanities Center Seminar in Book History 

This talk is about the history of European notions of what it meant to be human between the late Middle Ages and the Scientific Revolution. I argue that the category of human was shaped by the category of the monster, and show how practices of classifying and describing monsters in different textual traditions changed notions of the boundaries between human, monster and animal. Three case-studies I examine in this… Read more about Surekha Davies (Western Connecticut State University) - “What is a Werewolf? Genres, Practices, and Cataloguing Monsters from the Middle Ages to the Scientific Revolution”
Paolo Savoia (Harvard, History of Science) – Saving Faces: Surgery and Masculinity in early Modern Italy

Paolo Savoia (Harvard, History of Science) – Saving Faces: Surgery and Masculinity in early Modern Italy

April 10, 2014

SC 469, 6pm

Reconstructive surgery of mutilated parts of the face – of lips, ears, and especially noses – became an Italian specialty in the second half of the 16th century. The technique came from two families of Southern Italian barber-surgeons of the 15th and 16th centuries, and it was re-described and practiced by a group of professors of surgery and anatomy at the University of Bologna. Among them, Gaspare Tagliacozzi devoted an entire (and very erudite) book to the subject. While many histories of surgery focused on the technique of… Read more about Paolo Savoia (Harvard, History of Science) – Saving Faces: Surgery and Masculinity in early Modern Italy

Nir Shafir - The Road From Damascus: Travel and Knowledge in the Seventeenth-century Ottoman Empire

March 27, 2014

SC469, 6pm

In the mid- to late-seventeenth century a number of intellectuals in the Ottoman Empire began writing long travelogues in both Arabic and Turkish in an attempt to develop an epistemology of eye-witnessing through the practice of travel. These travelogues constitute perhaps the largest and most popular set of travel literature for the early modern Middle East. However, these travelers did not venture west into Europe proper or east into Central Asia or south into South Asia. Rather they are narratives of wanderings—part pilgrimage, part discovery—… Read more about Nir Shafir - The Road From Damascus: Travel and Knowledge in the Seventeenth-century Ottoman Empire

Cornel Zwierlein (History, University of Bochum), “Big City Fires, Fire Insurance and the Historical Narrative of Risk Sociology (17th to 19th c.)”

February 20, 2014

SC 469, 6pm

Fire

Together with floods, big city fires were the greatest threat to everyday life and security in early modern cities right until the 19th century. In a newly established database we count 8200 such fires for Central Europe between AD 1000 and 1939. The well known examples like… Read more about Cornel Zwierlein (History, University of Bochum), “Big City Fires, Fire Insurance and the Historical Narrative of Risk Sociology (17th to 19th c.)”

Yan Liu (History of Science, Harvard), “Price of Immortality: Elixir Poisoning in Chinese Alchemy (4th-9th century)”

February 13, 2014

Science Center 469 – 6pm

The tradition of alchemy in China is long. Unlike Western alchemy that focused on transmuting metals into gold, Chinese alchemy primarily aimed to make elixirs to achieve immortality. The materials used in Chinese tradition were mainly minerals – many of them toxic by modern standard. These include cinnabar, mercury, lead, sulfur, and arsenic. These elixirs, once ingested, often caused traumatic bodily experiences, and death. If the appeal of the elixir was high, so was its price. Chinese alchemists, strangely, continued the practice for almost a millennium… Read more about Yan Liu (History of Science, Harvard), “Price of Immortality: Elixir Poisoning in Chinese Alchemy (4th-9th century)”

Katharine Park and Ahmed Ragab

December 5, 2013

Knowledge on the Move: Scientific Encounters in the Muslim and Christian Worlds (8th to 16th century): work in progress

SC469, 6pm

 

This project, which is based on a course Ahmed Ragab and Katharine Park co-teach in the Department of the History of Science, will yield a co-authored… Read more about Katharine Park and Ahmed Ragab

Heavenly Imperfections: 400th anniversary of Galileo's discovery of the sunspots

October 4, 2013

Check out this wonderful event celebrating the 400th anniversary of Galileo's discovery of the sunspots.

Co-sponsored by the Consulate General of Italy in Boston, the Office of the Dean of Arts and Humanities at Harvard, the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard, the Museo Galileo of Florence, Trevi Icos, and the "2013, Year of Italian Culture in the United States" Project.

http://mahindrahumanities.fas.harvard.edu/content/heavenly-imperfection… Read more about Heavenly Imperfections: 400th anniversary of Galileo's discovery of the sunspots