CFP: “Scientiae,” SFU, 26-28 April 2012



Paper and panel proposals are invited for Scientiae: a new interdisciplinary conference on early-modern science, to be held in Vancouver, B.C. (under the auspices of Simon Fraser University), April 26th-28th, 2012. The working assumption of the conference is that interdisciplinarity is not only an option, but a necessity, for the study of early-modern culture in its knowledge of the natural world. That is because period science is itself an interdisciplinary function, emerging from Biblical exegesis, advanced design, and literary humanitas; as well as from natural philosophy, alchemy, craft traditions, etc. By the same token, emergent science lends unique coherence to the gathered diversity of early-modern or Renaissance scholarship, when it is taken as an intellectual focal point. Scientiae offers a forum for scholars of the period’s art and literature, as well as its intellectual history, to illuminate aspects of early-modern science in the latter’s proper strangeness.

  • Topics and questions may include, but are by no means limited to:
  • Protestantism and science: a decisive thesis?
  • Nature and scripture: which interprets which?
  • Integrating the Iberian empires – a recalibration, or a transformation?
  • “Experimental” reading.
  • Royal Society rhetoric: how well has it really been understood?
  • Renaissance philosophy and the development of a “new” cosmology and anthropology.
  • Paracelsianism, Neoplatonism, alchemy: where are we now?
  • Invention and discovery: separable economies?
  • Theological origins of the new science.
  • Hermeneutic consequences of the Newtonian settlement.
  • Scholastic scientia and postmodern theory.
  • Early-modern information: is there any?
  • Science and mimesis: reflection, or transformation?
  • Early-modern literature and the new knowledge: friends, or foes?
  • Period medicine, from Scholasticism to Humanism and beyond.

The plenary speakers for Scientiae will be Mario Biagioli and Peter Harrison. Dr. Biagioli is Distinguished Professor of Law and Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Director of the Center for Innovation Studies at the University of California (Davis). Dr. Harrison is Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion, Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre, and a Fellow of Harris Manchester College at Oxford University.

Other prominent speakers currently expected at Scientiae include: Amir Alexander, Stephen Clucas, Sven Dupré, Angus Gowland, Hakan Hakansson, Kevin Killeen, William Newman, Lawrence Principe, Claire Preston, and Jonathan Sawday.

All conference sessions will take place at SFU Harbour Centre, overlooking the waterfront in the heart of downtown Vancouver. A conference rate will be available at the Delta Suites Hotel, located directly across the street from Harbour Centre. Rich options for dining, shopping, and entertainment are within walking distance of the conference site. Direct transport links to Vancouver Airport, and to almost anywhere in the metropolitan area, including extensive outdoor recreational opportunities, are available from Waterfront Station, also steps away from Harbour Centre.


Send proposals of no more than 500 words as Word or PDF attachments to:

Conference Organizers:

  • James Dougal Fleming, Department of English, Simon Fraser University
  • Steven Matthews, Department of History, The University of Minnesota, Duluth

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