Past Event

The Astronomer’s Chair: A Visual and Cultural History

March 8, 2022
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Event time is displayed in your time zone.
Schermerhorn Hall (Room 807), Columbia University, 1180 Amsterdam Avenue, New York

Event Description

The Astronomer’s Chair: A Visual and Cultural History is the first book-length study of the place of seat-furniture in the history of science, particularly with respect to the astronomer’s gendered and racialized labor and body. With a focus on mechanically adjustable observing chairs used in conjunction with telescopes in Europe, Great Britain, and the United States in the nineteenth century, the book situates task-specific chairs at the intersection of multiple economies: moral, visual, and epistemic. The novel approach taken in The Astronomer’s Chair—one that methodologically treats visual and material cultures jointly—allows the author to systematically decolonize the image and object of the chair in science but also to relocate it in a broad material cosmology of the nineteenth century that is global. Equipped with the distinct conclusions of this study, Nasim implicates Freud’s couch into a global history of the psyche, one just as historicist and Orientalized as the astronomer’s chair.

Event Speakers

  • Omar W. Nasim, Professor of History of Science at the University of Regensburg
  • Chaired by Hannah Pivo, Graduate Student in Modern Design and Architecture at Columbia University

Event Information

Columbia University affiliates are welcome to attend in person and should register via Google Forms. Members of the public are invited to join via Zoom and must register to receive the event link. 

Hosted by the Department of Art History and Archeology at Columbia University.