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 on first Tuesdays from 2:30 to 4:00pm Eastern Time. 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.


  • mpiorko1's picture

    Megan Piorko

    Megan Piorko is a doctoral candidate at Georgia State University in the History department. Her dissertation project explores the materiality of speculative knowledge-making practices in seventeenth-century textual chymical collections. She has held a research fellowship at the Science History Institute and is the Student Representative to the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry.


  • KReinhart's picture

    Katherine Reinhart

    Katherine Reinhart is the Consortium's 2019-2020 NEH Postdoctoral Fellow. She holds a Ph.D. in history of art from University of Cambridge. Her book project examines the epistemic and political functions of images in a pivotal early modern scientific institution – the Académie royale des sciences, the first scientific academy in France. It reveals how various types of visual material – from anatomical drawings to allegorical reliefs on coins – were an indispensible part of the Academy’s projects, as well as providing tangible evidence of the scientific ambitions of the French state. 


Upcoming Meetings (all times Eastern)

  • Tuesday, November 5, 2019 - 2:30pm

    Our second meeting will cover "Part II: Vision" in Science in the Age of Baroque.

  • Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - 2:30pm

    Our final meeting for the fall will cover "Part III: Excess" in Science in the Age of Baroque.

Past Meetings

  • October 8, 2019

    (Note Special Day) The group will being discussion of Science in the Age of the Baroque (Springer, 2012), edited by Ofer Gal and Raz Chen-Morris. The first set of readings will be Part I: Order. 

  • 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.