19 MarchMar 2020 00:00 - 20 MarchMar 2020 23:55 Europe/Bucharest
Organizers: Fabrizio Baldassarri & Matthias Roick
Venue: ICUB, Bucharest
Date: March 19-20, 2020
Invited speakers: Francesco Barreca (Museo Galileo), Dominique Brancher (Basel University), Sabrina Ebbersmeyer (Copenhagen University), Christiane Frey (Humboldt University Berlin), Christia Mercer (Columbia University), Iolanda Ventura (University of Bologna)
In early modern intellectual history, in the history of early modern science, philosophy, and in many other fields of knowledge, scholars have long begun to travel new directions of investigation. Rather than proceeding along well-trodden paths, they shed new focus on the less well-known corners, and move in the more ‘secluded’ regions of the past. More importantly, they have grown suspicious of the ‘grand narratives’ and the teleological progress of knowledge that have informed their respective fields and their public perception for a long time. In contrast, scholars have started exploring topics and themes that do not lead straightforwardly into the present, moving from pre-modern to modern, but rather constitute ‘Holzwege’, or paths that—from a presentist point of view—go nowhere or were abandoned in the course of time.
This kind of research has produced highly fascinating and inspiring results. Still, it has also put into question common frameworks. Scholarship has become more specialized and fragmented, and it has become more difficult to communicate between different disciplines and subdisciplines. The work on historical contexts and micro-contexts seems to have little leverage to change the mainstream—after all, its aim is not to substitute one ‘grand narrative’ with another ‘grand narrative’, but to engage in a more complex relationship with the past.
Our workshop will invite practitioners from different fields to reflect together on this situation and to discuss one possible alternative: non-linear narratives. Widely used in literature and film, this narrative technique portrays events in a non-chronological order (for example, in flashbacks and flashforwards) and does not necessarily follow causality. When applied to the writing of history, the idea of non-linear narratives invites, on the one hand, to deliberate the theoretical nature of narrative structures and temporalities; on the other hand, it raises practical questions on how to employ non-linear narratives in historical writings and find alternatives to ‘genealogical’ writings that track the lineages of new, ideas, practices, and institutions.
Through several case studies, such as expanding the perspective on outsiders, heretics, women, and losers, or inspecting new frontiers of knowledge (from ontology and metaphysics, to cosmology, alchemy and botany, and to ethics and politics), or constructing alternative (hi)stories and narrations, such as eclecticism, opposing methodologies, and unearthing shadows in the age of evidence and light (such as irrationality enshrined in the age of reason), the workshop is not intended to simply present one’s own research, but aims to reflect on the role of alternative narrations while telling a different story.
The programme of the workshop is available here.
Event organized with the support of the Freigeist Projekt “The Ways of Virtue. The Ethica Section in Wolfenbüttel and the History of Ethics in Early Modern Europe” and the CNCS – UEFISCDI, PN-III-P1-1.1-PD-2016-1496, “The Overlooked History of Vegetal Life. From the Vegetative Soul to Metabolism in Early Modern Philosophy and Biomedicine”.
Event is in progress
LocationICUB Humanities (Dimitrie Brandza 1)
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