Archival Afterlives: Life, Death, and Knowledge-Making in Early Modern British Scientific and Medical Archives
Call For Papers
The Royal Society, London, UK
June 2, 2015
Early modern naturalists and physicians collected, generated, and shared massive amounts of paper. Inspired by calls for the wholesale reform of natural philosophy and medicine and schooled in humanist note-taking practices, they generated correspondence, reading notes (in margins, on scraps, in notebooks), experimental and observational reports, medical case histories, and drafts (rough, partial, fair) of treatises intended for circulation in manuscript or further replication in print. If naturalists claimed all knowledge as their province, natural philosophy was a paper empire.
In our own day, naturalists’ and physicians’ materials, ensconced in archives, libraries, and (occasionally) private hands, are now the foundation of a history of science and medicine that have taken a material turn towards paper, ink, pen, and filing systems as technologies of communication, information management, and knowledge production. Recently, the creation of such papers, and their originators’ organization of them and intentions for them have received much attention. The lives archives lived after their creators’ deaths have been explored less often. The posthumous fortunes of archives are crucial both to their survival as historical sources today and to their use as scientific sources in the past.
The symposium organizers (Vera Keller, Anna Marie Roos, and Elizabeth Yale) invite thirty minute papers which engage us in thinking about genealogies of scientific influence, the material and intellectual resources that had to be deployed to continue the scientific project beyond the life of any one individual, the creation and management of scientific genius as a posthumous project, and scientific activity as a collective endeavor in which scribes, archives and library keepers, editors, digital humanists and naturalists’ and physicians’ surviving friends and family members had a stake. We especially welcome papers that treat such themes in relation to the history of medicine. Conference travel and accommodation support is available pending the outcome of grant applications.
Please send a brief paper abstract and CV to firstname.lastname@example.org by February 22, 2015.
Richard Serjeantson, Trinity College, Cambridge University
Leigh Penman, The University of Queensland, Australia
Lauren Kassell (keynote), Pembroke College, Cambridge University
Michael Hunter (commentary), Birkbeck College, University of London
Anna Marie Roos, University of Lincoln
Vera Keller, University of Oregon
Elizabeth Yale, University of Iowa
Victoria Sloyan, Wellcome Library