London, 11 January 2017, 5:30 pm
Admission free; please register for this event through the Events section of the School of Advanced Study (SAS) here.
Professor Kuskawa will give a paper arguing for the importance of images as a versatile means of shaping and transmitting scientific knowledge in the early modern period. Traditionally, historians of science have looked to illustrations in early printed books as evidence of first-hand observation. But a large number of these illustrations, including those labeled as ‘ad vivum’, turn out to be images copied from elsewhere. Copying images was undertaken for a variety of reasons in the early modern period, including as a way to save time and money for the printers. Rather than a disappointing, inferior iteration of first-hand observation, I propose that copying was a necessary and versatile means of shaping and sharing scientific knowledge, but as with any form of transmission, copying entailed some process of transformation and translation. This paper will discuss the many different uses through which images came to constitute early modern scientific knowledge.