GR8906: Craft and Science: Making Objects in the Early Modern World | P. Smith

Graduate and Advanced Undergraduate Laboratory Seminar
M 10:10AM-2PM

This course studies the materials, techniques, settings, and meanings of skilled craft and artistic practices in the early modern period (1350-1750), in order to reflect upon a series of issues, including craft knowledge and artisanal epistemology; the intersections between craft and science; and questions of historical methodology and evidence in the reconstruction of historical experience. The course will be run as a “Laboratory Seminar,” with discussions of primary and secondary materials, as well as text- and object-based research and hands-on work in a laboratory. One component of the Making and Knowing Project (housed at the Center for Science and Society), this course contributes to the collaborative production of a transcription, English translation, and critical edition of a late sixteenth-century manuscript in French, BnF Ms. Fr. 640.

In fall 2018, the course will focus on the cultural context, materials, and techniques of “making impressions” upon a variety of surfaces, including making reliefs for ornament and for printing, and inscribing metal, including engraving and etching. Several entries in the manuscript use what we think of as “print techniques” for metal decoration or making seals and molds, and other entries discuss printers’ type, and make use of prints for image transfer. Students will begin with skill-building exercises in culinary reconstruction, pigment making, and molding, and then, with advice from a visiting “expert maker,” will choose a research focus from the entries in the manuscript that cover such topics as draftsmanship, engraving techniques, print transfer, and other topics that intersect with printing and printmaking. The course will be taught this year only in fall 2018. It is not necessary to have either prior lab experience or French language skills.

Advanced undergraduate students are eligible for enrollment. Please contact Pamela Smith, [email protected], if you are interested.

Link to Vergil 
Note: only courses offered during the two previous semesters have active Vergil links.