Tomas Bartoletti: Katalogdaten im Herbstsemester 2019

NameHerr Dr. Tomas Bartoletti
Geschichte der modernen Welt
ETH Zürich, RZ G 16.1
Clausiusstrasse 59
8092 Zürich
DepartementGeistes-, Sozial- und Staatswissenschaften

851-0145-08LFrom Biographies of Scientific Objects to Global Narratives in Swiss Museums Belegung eingeschränkt - Details anzeigen
Number of participants limited to 25.
3 KP2ST. Bartoletti
KurzbeschreibungThis seminar will explore the contemporary trend in global narratives in the history of knowledge and its relation to material culture. The focus will be placed on scientific objects and their “biographies” as a means for constructing the history of science. It involves the understanding of knowledge networks and the establishment of museums and collections as “cathedrals of science.”
LernzielThe seminar on biographies of scientific objects aims to research critically the centre-periphery dynamics in the history of knowledge from perspectives related to the materiality turn and questions of human-non-human agencies. The course proposes methodologically to explore the “territory”, visiting Swiss museums, collections and storage facilities where this issue can be examined today.
InhaltInterest in a global understanding of historic processes has led to a diverse number of investigations and theoretical frameworks that continue to be redefined extensively. The global history approach of this seminar follows this growing trend, adding a Swiss case to the global history of science. In general terms, a global history approach entails an explanation of structured transformations on a global level, transcending national perspectives and “decentralizing” world history. It differs from the older tradition of world history and its narratives of civilization because its focus is not on comparisons or diffusionist explanations, but rather “entanglements”, “networks”, “circulation” and “flows,” aiming to foster interactions across borders. The historiography of science tends to be conceived as a “Global History of Science” in order to include a non-diffusionist narrative of knowledge production and to integrate indigenous epistemologies. In this regard, the Swiss museums as “cathedrals of science” are representative of a broader trans-imperial institutionalization of science in Europe and thus is an interesting object of study but also quite explored critically in Swiss historiography. Recently, debates about the European construction of natural and ethnological collections and epistemic colonization through the trafficking of objects, fossils and bones for their heritage have acquired greater visibility. Moreover, the research of the establishment of Swiss museums intersects adequately with the recent school of studies on “Colonial Switzerland”. This relatively new body of work mainly deconstructs the idea of Swiss “innocence” in colonial territories, reinserting Switzerland in post-colonial studies debates.

A seminar in the research of “biographies” of scientific objects and global narratives in Swiss museums will focus on archeological pieces, fossils, substances, animals among others and their “biographies” as a means for constructing the history of knowledge. This approach, which has been done considerably in recent years, brings with it new theoretical and methodological frameworks, especially related to the materiality turn and questions of human-non-human agencies. Thus, biographies of scientific objects allow us to research epistemic and post-colonial entanglements and the centre-periphery dynamics in the history of knowledge from other perspectives. The seminar proposes methodologically to visit Swiss laboratories, museums, collections and storage facilities and thus the examination will be based on a termpaper related to the history of these collections and museums.