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2007-08 Humanities Research Groups

"Nature's Disciplines" and the
New England Renaissance Conference

Sponsor: Cogut Center for the Humanities

Coordinators: Evelyn Lincoln, Department of the History of Art & Architecture and Italian Studies

Tara Nummedal, History Department

Nicolás Wey-Gómez, Hispanic Studies

The original research group on “Nature’s Disciplines” explored the production, practice, and implications of early modern science in an interdisciplinary context. They began this conversation by inviting two scholars whose work is particularly interdisciplinary – Paula Findlen and Janice L. Neri – to come to Brown to share their work and spark our thinking about creating an interdisciplinary community of scholars here. They met several times during the semester to discuss how interdisciplinary studies of the history of science could best be researched and taught at Brown within existing structures, or else to come up with ideas for how to modify those structures to accommodate the course of study defined during the research semester.

In 2007-08 , this group will turn its attention to organizing the New England Renaissance Conference, being hosted here at Brown in October 2007 on the theme of “Nature’s Disciplines.” The New England Renaissance Conference is a regional interdisciplinary meeting of New England based scholars (including faculty, graduate students, and independent scholars) who meet for a day every year to present their work. The conference is a tradition that was begun at Brown in 1939 by Leicester Bradner, and has rotated through New England universities ever since.  It is hoped that framing this year’s conference around the theme of “Nature’s Disciplines” will help this research group identify and draw in people interested in the interdisciplinary study of early modern natural knowledge at Brown.