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The Vossius Center at the University of Amsterdam will host a two-day workshop, entitled “How Disciplines Interact”.* The workshop is postponed due to COVID-19 and will probably take place 6 and 7 May 2021.

Detail Summary
Start date 7 May 2020
End date 8 May 2020
Time 09:00
Location Bushuis/Oost-Indisch Huis
Room VOC room

Historians of the sciences and the humanities have described many interactions between disciplines. One frequently occurring form of interaction concerns the transfer of knowledge across disciplinary boundaries. Examples include the influence of modern historical thinking on geology, the influx of physicists in molecular biology, or the use of the linguistic notion of grammar in computer science.

The purpose of this workshop is to grasp this phenomenon of knowledge transfer in a systematic way, in order to answer general questions such as: Why and how do disciplines borrow knowledge from one another? Under what conditions has knowledge transfer been (un)successful in the past? And what light, if at all, do historical examples shed on current forms of (inter)disciplinarity?

During the workshop, we aim to discuss and compare various examples of knowledge transfer between disciplines in the sciences and the humanities, in any direction. Moreover, we want to juxtapose the different methods and approaches that scholars have developed to deal with the phenomenon.


Please note: this workshop is postponed due to COVID-19. The workshop will probably take place 6 and 7 May 2021 (TBC).

Thursday 7 May

09:00 - 09:15 Arrival; Coffee and tea

09:15 - 09:30 Rens Bod (University of Amsterdam)
Welcome & Introduction

09:30 - 10:15 Kärin Nickelsen (LMU Munich)
Disciplinary Hybridity and the Art of Collaboration: The Case of Photosynthesis Research

10:15- 11:00 Ana Simões (University of Lisbon)
The 1919 total solar eclipse and the British expeditions. Instances of travelling knowledge between disciplines and places

11:00- 11:30 Break

11:30 – 12:15 Emma Mojet (University of Amsterdam)
Data Collection Practices in Linguistics, Botany, and Social Science

12:15 – 13:00 Marcel Boumans (Utrecht University)
Traveling Knowledge

13:00 - 14:15 Lunch

14:15 – 15:00 Viktoria Tkaczyk (MPIWG Berlin)
Auditory Images: Shared Concepts and Epistemic Pluralities around 1900

15:00 – 15:45 Sjang ten Hagen (University of Amsterdam)
Historical Criticism in Late-Nineteenth-Century Physics

15:45 - 16:15 Break

16:15 – 17:00 Karin Tybjerg (University of Copenhagen)
Epistemic Stuff: The Matter of Disciplinary Interaction

17:00 – 17:30 Discussion Day 1

17:30 – 18:30 Drinks (all participants) @ Bushuis

19:00 – 22:00 Dinner (all speakers) @ TBA

Friday 8 May

09:15 – 09:30 Coffee and tea

09:30 – 10:15 Floris Cohen (Utrecht University)
Wilhelm Ostwald’s ‘Energeticist’ Approach to the Sciences of Culture, and his Two Major Critics

10:15 – 11:00 Kristine Palmieri (University of Chicago)
Philology as Method: Rethinking Specialization

11:00 – 11:30 Break

11:30 - 12:15 Kapil Raj (EHESS Paris)
Go-Betweens, Boundary Crossings, and the Making of New Knowledge: The 19th-Century Indo-British Mapping of Tibet

12:15 – 13:00 Jaehwan Hyun (MPIWG Berlin)
The Gendered Interaction: Studying the Sea Women in Human Physiology and Ethnology

13:00 – 14:15 Lunch

14:15 – 15:00 Lukas Verburgt (Utrecht University)
Disciplinary Unknowns: Making Ignorance Work in Nineteenth-Century British Science

15:00 – 15:45 Catherine Herfeld (University of Zurich)
Crossing Domains: The Role of the Translator in the Spread of Scientific Innovations

15:45 – 16:15 Break

16:15 – 17:00 Raphaël Sandoz (University of Geneva)
A framework for studying disciplinary interactions: “The historical atlas of the disciplines”

17:00 – 17:30 Jeroen van Dongen (University of Amsterdam)
Closing Remarks

* The workshop is  part of an ongoing NWO-funded research project at the University of Amsterdam called The Flow of Cognitive Goods with Rens Bod, Jeroen van Dongen, Bart Karstens, Sjang ten Hagen and Emma Mojet. The project’s methodological approach has recently been published as a ‘Critiques and Contentions’-piece in Isis (September 2019): .

Bushuis/Oost-Indisch Huis

Room VOC room

Kloveniersburgwal 48
1012 CX Amsterdam