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This course will explore new approaches in the history of science and urban history by inviting renowned scholars from both fields as well as graduate students to take part in an ongoing conversation about scientific knowledge and urban space.
The study of the circulation and communication of knowledge in the public sphere has received increasing attention in recent years, bringing new approaches and developments to the study of history. These included attempts to connect the history of science and urban history through trying to locate the place and role of scientific institutions in the broader urban context and the spaces of science in the city.
Historians of science, especially since the publication of the thematic volume “Science and the City” [Osiris 18 (2003)], have been attempting to write “urban histories of science” of early modern and modern Europe by engaging with various urban aspects of the production and dissemination of science in the transforming public sphere. This “urban turn” in the history of science has been instrumental in providing a useful spatial and cultural framework for the study of the production and transfer of scientific knowledge. In parallel, though largely without engaging with this new scholarship, urban historians have had their own discussion of the role of science in the city but have by and large been slower to approach the potential benefits of how the study of these frameworks and processes can contribute to the pursuit of urban history.
This course will bring together historians of science and urban historians, including renowned scholars from prestigious universities working on the early modern and modern periods, as well as graduate students of the humanities and social sciences with an interest in either or both fields that could benefit from the shared expertise. Engaging them in conversation will be a new step in creating a new space for discussion of historical studies, not only for historians of science and urban historians, but for practitioners of other fields, such as environmental studies, gender studies, literature, science and technology studies, sociology, cultural or social anthropology. Applying approaches of knowledge transfer and network analysis to the study of the city, and incorporating the new research in the history of science, this interdisciplinary summer course will bring together senior and junior scholars of urban history, the history of science, and other related fields in order to exchange ideas in developing new research agendas with an aim to expand the “urban variable” in the history of science and to designate a space for the sciences in urban history from the early modern period to the early 20th century.
While the summer school will have a distinct interdisciplinary and trans-epochal character, potential participants should demonstrate historical awareness and general interest in history.