17 May 2002 - 18 May 2002All dayFaculty of History


Seminar Room 3, Faculty of History, West Road, Cambridge
Conference organised under the auspices of CRASSH (University of Cambridge) and the British Academy

The centenary of the British Academy falls in 2002, and is to be marked by a number of conferences and the publication of a series of books. At the same time, the University of Cambridge's new Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (CRASSH) has adopted the theme of the organization of knowledge as its first initiative. The conference to be held in Cambridge in May 2002 will contribute to both initiatives: it provides a forum to discuss papers for a British Academy centenary volume, and to think about some of the themes for the wider programme of CRASSH.

The intellectual agenda of the conference is designed to address the organisation of knowledge in two senses. First, the structuring and definition of fields of knowledge. How were disciplinary boundaries defined, and how did they change over the period? Secondly, what were the institutional structures for the acquisition, funding, ordering, validation and dissemination of knowledge? What was the role of the state in funding the accumulation of knowledge, and its relation to non-state or quasi-state bodies? How were learned societies structured, and what were the tensions between different groups in different locales? How was the publication of knowledge and its authority policed? What was the relationship between esoteric and practical knowledge? We aim to locate the formation of the British Academy within these wider questions.

The conference provides an opportunity to discuss preliminary drafts of papers for the book, allowing us to shape the final chapters in a coherent way. Most of the papers are intended to be wide-ranging and synoptic, but we are also including some more specialist papers on particular topics and themes in order to involve younger scholars, and to capture some of the new work being done in the field. Speakers will include Frank Turner (Yale), Classics; John Pickstone, University of Manchester From natural history to analysis; Duncan Robinson Crystal Palaces; and Mary Beard Classical antiquity .

Professor Martin Daunton, Faculty of History


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk