Past Event

Learning by the Book: Manuals in the History of Knowledge Conference

June 6, 2018 - June 10, 2018
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

Often overlooked, handbooks, protocols, and manuals are key tools in the making and sharing of knowledge. Across scholarly studies, artisanal workshops, religious schools, and biomedical laboratories, instructional and reference texts codify the knowledge of a working community, with an eye to communicating what a new practitioner needs to know. Across the globe, manuals and handbooks have also played a key role in bringing local knowledge to far-flung readers.

This international conference will feature senior scholars and graduate students working on the role of manuals and handbooks in knowledge transmission, from antiquity to the present, in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The conference will bring together three vibrant fields—history of books and media, science and technology studies, and history of knowledge—to consider (in simplest terms) how practices relate to text, and how bodies of technical knowledge are shaped and maintained over time.

The keynote address is From Lived Experience to the Written Word: Making, Writing, and Knowing in the Early Modern Workshop by Pamela H. Smith, Seth Low Professor of History; Director of the Center for Science and Society, Columbia University.

Free and open to the public, but registration is required as there are limited in person and virtual slots. Please visit the conference website for more details.

This conference is sponsored by Princeton University’s Center for Collaborative History, International Fund, and David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project in the Humanities Council; and the German Historical Institute.