By Jenny Boulboullé
On 6 December 2016 Katrien Vanagt, a historian of science and filmmaker, gave a guest lecture on early modern experiments in anatomy and optics within Prof. Sven Dupré’s Master course “Art and knowledge: Light, Color and Perspective in Art” at University College Utrecht. First, we watched her documentary In Waking Hours, co-produced with film maker Sarah Vanagt, followed by a hands-on session in which the students built their own camera obscura’s. In this blog, I reflect upon the documentary In Waking Hours as a research method and pedagogic tool to explore experiential aspects of early modern experimental practice. Moreover, I argue that Vanagt’s film encourages humanities researchers to engage with their research matter hands-on and to experiment with unorthodox media and formats to do and present research, despite the pressure for conformity in our current academic research landscape.
By Inbar Graiver
The period of transition from classical antiquity to the Middle Ages, known as late antiquity, gave rise to some of the elements that have since constituted the identity of the Western self. It also gave rise to new lines of psychological investigation, of which Western psychology is the remote heir. Psychology, however, did not exist in the ancient world as an independent science, nor was a distinction drawn between scientific and moral or religious elements of psychological knowledge. Accordingly, this important source of evidence has been neglected by scholars investigating the history of Western psychology, who have tended to focus on the 19th-century roots of scientific psychology. This post argues for the need to broaden the focus on the history of the discipline of psychology to include the history of psychological knowledge, and demonstrates some of the benefits to be derived from this endeavor.
Many of the figures that historians write about died a long time ago. To gain insight into their lives, historians investigate sources that have in fact survived the test of time. But what would it be like to ask Isaac Newton a question in person? And what would you ask him? Isaac Newton has passed away a long time ago, but the modern-day Newtons are very much alive. Due to technological advancement, it has become incredibly easy to get in touch with prominent scientists, and simply ask them a question. They form an important source of knowledge and are first-hand witnesses to science in progress. And basically, time is short: if we don’t strike in time, we lose their testimonies forever.