James Gillray, ‘“L’Insurrection de l’Institut Amphibie.'—The Pursuit of Knowledge." From Egyptian Sketches (London, 1799).

Project (2018)

Knowledge in Transit

We often think about knowledge being made in specific places, and then passed on to others, so that the making and communicating of knowledge are separate processes. Yet all knowledge, and science in particular, is at every stage and at every moment a form of communication. This is as true of skilled practices and experiences as it is of the spoken and written word; it is as true for readers, listeners, watchers, and users as it is for laboratory experimentalists, mathematical modelers, scribal copyists, and internet bloggers. Making knowledge is always bound up with communicating knowledge. Drawing especially on work of the past decade, this project uses perspectives relating to communication to approach a variety of challenges currently facing history of science. These range from the interpretation of specific passages of scientific work to the place of science in world history. The aim will be to complete a short book, drawing on evidence from different sciences, a variety of historical periods, and a range of cultural circumstances.