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This course explores 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 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 how science can influence the evolution of the city and and what the study of scientific culture can reveal about the city.
Instead of simply furthering the agenda and approaches of the “urban history of science,” 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. Through lectures and seminars, students will have the opportunity to locate and consider the urban spaces of knowledge in Europe and beyond in the early modern and modern period; the reception of scientific and technological development and innovation by the urban public; and discover scientific sites in Budapest during walking tours. Engaging in this discussion 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 and the history of science 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.