Working Groups

Early Modern Science

The Early Modern Science Working Group meets monthly to discuss a colleague’s work in progress or to discuss readings that are of particular interest to participants.

Meetings are usually held at the Consortium offices in Philadelphia from 12:00 to 1:30 on first Fridays.  Scholars located anywhere can also participate online.

To join this working group, click "Request group membership" at right. You will receive instructions for participating online or in person.


  • Babak Ashrafi


Upcoming Meetings (all times Eastern)

There are no currently scheduled upcoming events.

Past Meetings

  • April 6, 2018

    Note New Time
    Harun Küçük, Introduction and Chap. 3 of work-in-progress on Ottoman science. 
    Please note that we are changing the time for the April and May meetings from noon to 5 pm (Eastern).

  • March 9, 2018

    Three (relatively) recent takes on questions central to the historiography of the scientific revolution:
    Daniel Garber, "Why the Scientific Revolution Wasn't a Scientific Revolution, and Why it Matters" (2016)
    Peter Dear, "Historiography of Not-So-Recent Science" (2012)
    Robert Westman, short selection from The Copernican Question (2011)

  • February 2, 2018

    We discussed a selection of articles from the June 2017 special issue of History of Science on Iberian science.  Maria Portuondo, who wrote the introduction to this issue, joined us from Johns Hopkins.  To keep the reading at manageable quantity, we picked articles that engage particularly with historiographical questions.  Interested readers may want to check out the rest of this very interesting  journal issue. 
    Click on the Downloads tab on this page for the pdfs of the articles.
    María Portuondo. “Iberian Science: Reflections and Studies”

    Juan Pimentel and José Pardo-Tomás. “And yet, we were modern. The Paradoxes of Iberian Science after the Grand Narratives”

    John Slater and Maríaluz López-Terrada. “Being Beyond: The Black Legend and How We Got Over It”

    Henrique Leitāo and Antonio Sánchez. “Too Much To Tell: Narrative Styles of the First Descriptions of the Natural World of the Indies.”

  • January 12, 2018

    * Note Special Day

    We discussed two papers by Richard Oosterhoff (University of Cambridge, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities [CRASSH]) on Renaissance practices of reading and advancing knowledge claims in mathematical and astronomical texts.

    1) "A Book, a Pen, and the Sphere: Reading Sacrobosco in the Renaissance,"
    History of Universities 28, no. 2 (2015): 1–54.

    2) "Idiotae, Mathematics and Artisans: The Untutored Mind and the Discovery of
    Nature in the Fabrist Circle," Intellectual History Review 24 (2014): 1–19.

  • November 17, 2017

    Discussion of Matthew Crawford, The Andean Wonder Drug: Cinchona Bark and Imperial Science in the Spanish Atlantic, 1630-1800 (Chicago, 2016)
    The author joined us.  We focused on the Introduction, Chap. 1 and Chap. 4
    Please find a pdf of these chapters under "Current Download"

  • October 13, 2017

    Discussion of two recent articles in Isis:
    J. Andrew Mendelsohn and Annemarie Kinzelbach, “Common Knowledge: Bodies, Evidence, and Expertise in Early Modern Germany,” Isis, June 2017:259-279.
    Evan Ragland, “‘Making Trials’ in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Academic Medicine,” Isis, September 2017: 503-528.

  • May 5, 2017

    POSTPONED Sophie Weeks, "The role of mechanics in Francis Bacon’s Great Instauration," from Zittel, Engel, Nanni, and Karafyllis, eds., Philosophies of Technology: Francis Bacon and His Contemporaries.

  • April 7, 2017

    "A Second Look: Leviathan and the Air Pump," published in Isis, volume 108, No. 1, March 2017. 

  • February 3, 2017

    Readings included a recent essay review from Isis by John Henry, a chapter from David Wootton's Invention of Science, and some extracts from Floris Cohen's Rise of Modern Science Explained.

  • December 2, 2016

    Bob Westman of UCSD and André Goddu of Stonehill College discussed with group participants their recent work on Copernicus.

    Robert S. Westman, Copernicus and the Astrologers, Dibner Library Lecture, December 12, 2013, Smithsonian Libraries. (Available here.)

    André Goddu, “Ludwik Antoni Birkenmajer and Curtis Wilson on the Origin of Nicholas Copernicus’s Heliocentrism,” Isis, v 107, no 2, June 2016, pp. 225-253. (DOI: 10.1086/687031)