The Materiality of Scientific Knowledge: Image-Text-Book (RBS-Mellon Symposium)

Date: 30 September 2016 – 1 October 2016
Time: Times vary
Location: Class of 1978 Orrery Pavilion, Kislak Center, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library, University of Pennsylvania
Presented by: The Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in Critical Bibliography at Rare Book School; Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania; University of Pennsylvania Humanities Forum; Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation

This two day symposium will explore the material factors—specifically, the conditions of writing, printing, and illustration—that underwrite the exchange and dissemination of scientific knowledge. Throughout the long history of scientific investigation, concepts and theories were formulated, shared, legitimated, and disseminated in manuscript and printed texts, as well as paintings, drawings, and engravings. Most scholarship in this area has focused on either the text or the images in scientific manuscripts and printed books, or has explored the relationship between text and image from the perspective of a single field or historical period. This symposium will bring scholars from a wide range of academic disciplines (history of science, art history, literary studies, philosophy, and classics) and curatorial roles together to address the pressing question of how to describe and analyze the relationship between images and text in scientific writing. By sharing discipline-specific expertise, we seek to bridge the wide array of terms and methods currently used to describe the text-image relationship. The goal is to enable more fruitful cross-disciplinary collaboration in the study of scientific texts, books, and images. The symposium will provide us with a forum to begin planning a collaboratively written, cross-disciplinary volume of “keywords” for the study of scientific texts and images.

See the event website for additional details and full schedule. Please note that the Friday evening keynote by Sachiko Kusukawa will be held at the Penn Museum’s Rainey Auditorium,