ST Lee Professorial Fellow 2011-12
The ST Lee Professorial Fellowship has been made possible by a generous endowment by Dr ST Lee, of Singapore to the School of Advanced Study at the University of London.
Professor Steven Shapin
A lecture by Steven Shapin (Franklin L Ford Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University) on the cultural and social history of how people have tasted wine and talked about its tastes followed by a wine reception.
How have people talked about the organoleptic characteristics of wines? How and why have descriptive and evaluative vocabularies changed over time? These vocabularies have shifted from the spare to the elaborate, from medical implications to aesthetic analyses, from a leading concern with 'goodness' (authenticity, soundness) to interest in the analytic description of component flavours and odours. The causes of these changes are various: one involves the importance, and eventual disappearance, of a traditional physiological framework for appreciating the powers and qualities of different sorts of aliment, including wines; another concerns the development of chemical sciences concerned with flavour components; and still another flows from changing social and economic circumstances in which wine was consumed and the functions served by languages of connoisseurship. The historical span surveyed here extends from Antiquity to the present and displays talk about wine tastes as a perspicuous site for understanding aspects of wide-ranging social and cultural change.
About Steven Shapin
Steven Shapin is Franklin L. Ford Professor of the History of Science, joining Harvard in 2004 after previous appointments as Professor of Sociology at the University of California, San Diego, and at the Science Studies Unit, Edinburgh University. His books include Leviathan and the Air- Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life (Princeton University Press, 1985 [new ed. 2011]; with Simon Schaffer), A Social History of Truth: Civility and Science in Seventeenth-Century England (University of Chicago Press, 1994), The Scientific Revolution (University of Chicago Press, 1996; now translated into 16 languages), Wetenschap is cultuur (Science is Culture) (Amsterdam: Balans, 2005; with Simon Schaffer), The Scientific Life: A Moral History of a Late Modern Vocation (University of Chicago Press, 2008), Never Pure: Historical Studies of Science as if It Was Produced by People with Bodies, Situated in Time, Space, Culture and Society, and Struggling for Credibility and Authority (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010), and several edited books.
He has published widely in the historical sociology
of scientific knowledge, and his current research interests include
historical and contemporary studies of dietetics, the changing languages
and practices of taste, the nature of entrepreneurial science, and
modern relations between academia and industry. He writes regularly for
the London Review of Books and has written for The New Yorker.
He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his
awards include the J. D. Bernal Prize of the Society for Social Studies
of Science (for career contributions to the field), the Ludwik Fleck
Prize of 4S and the Robert K. Merton Prize of the American Sociological
Association (for A Social History of Truth), the Herbert Dingle Prize of the British Society for the History of Science (for The Scientific Revolution),
a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Fellowship at the Center for Advanced
Study in the Behavioral Sciences. With Simon Schaffer, he was the 2005
winner of the Erasmus Prize, conferred by HRH the Prince of Orange of
the Netherlands, for contributions to European culture, society, or
Photo Courtesy of Globe Newspaper Company / Jonathan Wiggs © 2008
About the ST Lee Professorial Fellowship
The ST Lee Professorial Fellowship has been made possible by a generous endowment by Dr ST Lee, of Singapore to the School of Advanced Study
at the University of London for the purpose of supporting research in
London in any field relevant to the work of one or more of the School's
ten research institutes and the Human Rights Consortium.
Administrative assistance: Ruth Rushworth (Publicity & Development at CRASSH)