14 Jun 2019 5:00pm - 7:00pm Room SG1 & SG2, Alison Richard Building, Cambridge, CB3 9DT


*This event has been cancelled. We hope to reschedule in the next academic year.* 

gloknos is delighted to welcome Dr Sonja Brentjes (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science Berlin) to present Heavens and Earth: An Empirical Approach to Knowledge Across Cultures as part of our annual lecture series.

In my talk I wish to make a case for strengthening empirical studies of knowledge available across cultures without anchoring it in any specific theoretical approach. Over the years, I have come across an increasing number of theory-guided studies of knowledge transfer across the Old World or between the Old and New World that produced results contradicting empirically derived knowledge about such processes. As one step to regain a better empirical grounding of our theoretical debates and to overcome dichotomic evaluations of cross-cultural movements of knowledge, we are currently undertaking an interdisciplinary long-durée project for most parts of the Old World about visual representations of the heavens and their relations to materials, narratives, social status, and cultural meaning. I will present this project and some of its themes, objects, and methods. In the second part of my talk I will discuss my earlier work on a number of maps and how those empirical studies changed my outlook on relations between various societies in Europe and in the Islamicate world.

Sonja Brentjes is a historian of science at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, focusing on mathematics, institutions and mapmaking in Islamicate societies until 1700 and cross-cultural encounters in the Mediterranean and western Asia since the eighth century.

Attendance is free but spaces are limited, so please email to reserve your seat. Please be aware that we will take an audio recording of this event, which may include any questions and responses delivered by the audience.

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gloknos is initially funded for 5 years by the European Research Council through a Consolidator Grant awarded to Dr Inanna Hamati-Ataya for her project ARTEFACT (2017-2022). ARTEFACT is funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (ERC grant agreement no. 724451). For information about gloknos or ARTEFACT please contact the administrator in the first instance.


19 October 2018

Prof David Edgerton (King’s College London) – Turning the Global History of ‘Technology’ Upside Down: The Supremacy of Uruguay

4 December 2018

Prof Eleanor Robson (University College London) – Geographies of Knowledge in Ancient and Modern Iraq: The Nahrein Network and the Intellectual Infrastructure of Heritage

23 January 2019

Dr Sujit Sivasundaram (University of Cambridge) – In the Bay of Bengal: Modelling Empire, Globe and Self

In conjunction with the Centre for South Asian Studies Seminar Series

28 February 2019

Dr Erica Charters (University of Oxford) – Knowledge and War: Paper Technologies in Early Modern Empires

8 March 2019

Prof Rebecca Earle (University of Warwick) – The Political Economy of Nutrition in the Eighteenth Century

8 May 2019

Dr Johan Östling (University of Lund) – Circulating Public Knowledge: Towards a New History of the Postwar Humanities

14 June 2019

Dr Sonja Brentjes (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science Berlin) – Heavens and Earth: An Empirical Approach to Knowledge Across Cultures 

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