Geschichte am Mittwoch - Geschichte im Dialog


Francesco Luzzini (Berlin): Notes from the Paleoanthropocene. Antonio Vallisneri’s Primi Itineris Specimen: an Edition Open Sources Book

Moderation: Johannes Mattes

This presentation focuses on the critical edition of Antonio Vallisneri’s manuscript report Primi Itineris per Montes Specimen Physico-Medicum (1705), performed (and soon to be published) for the digital humanities project Edition Open Sources. Vallisneri, the preeminTent physician and naturalist of his time in Italy, wrote this document after a journey he made in the Northern Apennines during a historical period (XVII-XVIII century) that is conventionally described as the “prehistory” of Anthropocene: a moment when human activities had not yet impacted on the Earth’s environment so much to change its very geological and ecological systems. Still, it was in these years that natural philosophy, medicine, experimentalism, and traditional technologies started to interact significantly, leading to the definition of new scientific practices and methods.

With its exceptional array of geological, medical, geographical, technical, ethnographic, and historical data, The Primi Itineris Specimen is one of the earliest and most well-documented attempts to define a systematic approach to field research. As such, it allows us to better understand why and how experimental data and theories in the early modern period interacted and shaped the development of many crucial debates: the discovering of deep-time, the comprehension of geological phenomena, the perception of man’s place in nature, the search for new therapeutics, the tormented and charming relationship between science and religion.

The presentation will focus on the content of Vallisneri´s manuscript and on the many historical, scientific, and philosophical topics it addresses. Also, a methodological reflection will be made on the issues and goals ralated to the Edition Open Sources Project - as the problematic relationship between textual criticism and digital humanities, and the impact of open access on scholarly research.

Zum Vortragenden:
Francesco Luzzini is Affiliate Scholar at the Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte. His work focuses on the Earth sciences in Europe from the XVII to the XIX centuries. In 2015 and 2016 he was Edition Open Sources Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Oklahoma Libraries and at the MPIWG, where he worked on a critical edition of Antonio Vallisneri’s manuscript Primi Itineris Specimen.

Place/Ort: Institut für Geschichte, Universität Wien, Universitätsring 1, 1010 Wien, Hörsaal 45
Time/Zeit: 8. November 2017, 18.30 - 20.00 Uhr
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