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This project, which is based on a course Katharine Park and I co-teach in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard, will yield a co-authored book for the use of students and non-specialist scholars. This will present scientific and medical thought and practice in the Islamic and Latin Christian Middle Ages as a unified enterprise with a unified history, rather than as part of a story describing the transfer of knowledge from Greek antiquity to ear
Enlightenment and Imperial Decline: Cultures of Naturalism in the Ottoman Empire, 1650-1750 explores the entangled history of naturalism and cosmopolitanism in Ottoman Istanbul. In this project, I investigate the interface between artisanal and scholastic ways of knowing during a transformative period in Ottoman history.
In 1750 Michel Adanson, a young French naturalist attached to the Compagnie des Indes at their outpost in Senegal, sent several small swatches of cotton fabric to Paris. He had dyed the swatches himself, using various preparations of indigo grown locally and following practices he had learned from native inhabitants.
This dissertation offers a new interpretation of the Monograph in Twenty Verses, an important essay in the history of philosophy in South Asia by the influential Buddhist philosopher Vasubandhu (fl. 5th century C.E.).
When all else fails, we turn to the instruction manual. However, even then the experience can be frustrating. Making the leap from text to practice represents an age-old problem which this project addresses from a historical perspective. Its point of departure is a simple question: how did early modern scholars visually structure information in order to translate text into practice?
This project explores the natural knowledge-making strategies of British colonial savants in early modern India including the noted orientalist, Sir William Jones (1746-1794), and the English East India Company medics, Francis Buchanan (1762-1829) and William Roxburgh (1751-1815).
The research projects in Hans-Jörg Rheinberger’s department (formerly Department III) were completed in 2011. Following, Hans-Jörg Rheinberger continued his scholarly work as director of the MPIWG.
The project examines the conceptualization of the human senses in observational practices from 1750 to 1830. Starting with a discussion on the task of observation at the time when mechanical registering devices were not available or still rather unreliable, the study concentrates first on the diverging approach taken to the scientific instrument and the human senses in the second half of the eighteenth century.