Subjective Sciences: A Workshop on Taste and Connoisseurship in Early Modern Europe

04 May 2018, 10:00 am–6:00 pm

Subjective Sciences: A Workshop on Taste and Connoisseurship in Early Modern Europe

Event Information

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Room B02, Chandler House, UCL

This one-day workshop, to be held at UCL on 4 May 2018, explores the role of 'subjective' practices in the early modern sciences. The organisers are interested in the epistemic dimension of judgements that we now think of as subjective, either because of the senses they deploy (such as taste and smell) or because of the ends they serve (such as determining the quality and originality of a work of art). What were the technical procedures that early moderns used to make these judgements? What sort of knowledge was involved in them? And how did that knowledge stand in relation to early scientific disciplines, such as medicine, natural history, chemistry and natural philosophy? This workshop draws on literary history, art history, and the history of science, and covers a wide range of things that early moderns made judgements about, from scientific instruments to the pleasures arising from sensory experience.

The event is free, but registration is required. To register, please use the workshop's Eventbrite page.


4th May 2018

Room B02, Chandler House, University College London

2 Wakefield Street, London, WC1N 1PF

10.00-10.30 -  Registration

10.30-11.00 - Welcome and Introduction: Michael Bycroft & Alexander Wragge-Morley

11.00-11.45 - Charlotte Guichard (CNRS & École Normale Supérieure): Embedded Knowledge: Jean-Baptiste Le Brun, Value and Connoisseurship around 1800 in Paris

11.45-12.30 - Sarah Easterby-Smith (University of St. Andrews): Connoisseurship Beyond the Academy

12.30-13.30 - Lunch: Lunch will be Served for registered attendees

13.30-14.15 - Simon Werrett (UCL): Knowledge or Nick-Nack? Auctions and Experimental Science in Eighteenth-Century Britain

14.15-15.00 - Lorraine de la Verpillière (University of Cambridge): Le Médecin Guarissant Phantasie by Matthäus Greuter (c. 1600)

15.00-15.30 - Break

15.30-16.15 - Elizabeth Swann (University of Cambridge): 'Those Fruits of Natural knowledge': Erotic Empiricism in Seventeenth-Century England

16.15-17.00 - Olivia Smith (University of Oxford): Title to be Confirmed

17.00-18.00 - Concluding Roundtable

Drinks will be Served


Conference website