9 Nov 2016 12:30pm - 2:00pm Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building


Dr Daniel Jütte (Associate Professor, Department of History, New York University: Eurias Fellow, CRASSH 2016-17)
Jacqueline Nicholls (Independent Artist)


Jacqueline Nicholls
Doors, Gates & Curtains
Traditional Jewish texts utilises imagery of different types of entrances, each evoking particular ideas with regard to the relationship between physical reality and the world of the divine. This visual art presentation will focus on drawings that interpret relevant Talmudic texts about doors, gates and curtains as barriers and entrances.

Daniel Jütte
Living Stones: Architecture and Embodiment in Premodern Europe

Among the arts, architecture is often considered a particularly rational manifestation of human creativity. The desire for the perfect form runs deep in modern architecture, culminating, perhaps, in Le Corbusier’s notion of the “house as machine for living in.” Historically, however, there have also been other, very different ways of conceptualizing architecture. Following the call of this year’s seminar convenors—to “investigate human understanding of the world vis-à-vis objects”—the talk will probe the history of one particular idea: the house as a living being. The focus will be on the late medieval and early modern period when human attributes were explicitly assigned to the house: it had a name and life story, displayed bodily features, and was invested with a specific individuality. I will also address the question of why and when this notion of the house as actor began to decline.


Jacqueline Nicholls is a London based visual artist and Jewish educator. She uses her art to engage with traditional Jewish ideas in untraditional ways. She co-ordinates the Art Studio and other Arts & Culture events at JW3, and regularly teaches at the London School of Jewish Studies. Jacqueline’s art has been exhibited in solo shows and significant contemporary Jewish Art group shows in the UK, USA and Israel, and she was recently artist-in-resident in Venice with Beit Venezia. Jacqueline is a regular contributor to BBC R2 Pause for Thought.

Dr Daniel Jütte  is a historian of early modern and modern Europe. He is an associate professor (currently on leave) in the Department of History at New York University. His research interests lie in cultural history, urban history and material culture, history of knowledge and science, and Jewish history. He is currently working on a history of transparency from antiquity to modern times. Jütte is the author of two monographs. His award-winning The Age of Secrecy: Jews, Christians, and the Economy of Secrets, 1400–1800 (Yale University Press, 2015; first German ed. 2011) offers a general history of secrecy in the early modern period, with particular attention to the role of secrecy and secret sciences in Jewish-Christian relations. His second book, The Strait Gate: Thresholds and Power in Western History (Yale University Press, 2015), explores how doors, gates, and related technologies such as the key and the lock have shaped notions about security, privacy, and shelter.

Before joining NYU, Jütte taught as lecturer in the History Department at Harvard University as well as at the University of Heidelberg, from which he earned his Ph.D. in 2010. He has also held a number of fellowships: Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows (2011–2015); Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin (2015–16); and Eurias Fellow at the University of Cambridge (2016–2017). In addition, his work has been supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung), and the Daimler Benz Foundation. Jütte has been recognized for excellence in teaching, but he also enjoys engaging non-academic audiences and readerships, e.g., as a regular contributor to major European daily newspapers, including the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and Die Welt.


Open to all.  No registration required
Part of Embodied Things: Histories of Cognition, Practices, and Theories Research Group, series

Administrative assistance: gradfac@crassh.cam.ac.uk

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