Seminar History of Science, History of Text, 2011-2016

The seminar, which is held under the auspices of SPHERE, mainly explores textual problems related to the SAW project.

November 2015 to June 2016


In 2015-2016, the seminar ’History of Science, History of Text’ will keep exploring textual problems related to the ERC Project SAW — “Mathematical Sciences in the Ancient World”.
As in previous years, the seminar will address the following issues regarding scientific sources:

  • How textual sources bear witness to the social groups that produced them
  • How textual sources testify to knowledge
  • History of compilations
  • How actors structure their texts and knowledge into parts
  • How textual sources reflect the material environment in which they were produced

In line with the beginning of phase 3 of the project SAW, devoted to facets of the history of the historiography of ancient mathematics, the seminar will pay special attention to the sources attesting to work in the history of mathematics.
Eventualy, a conference devoted to “Mistakes and the study of manuscripts” will be co-organized with the Hamburg Center on Manuscript Cultures on May 2nd and 3rd, 2016.
The seminar will take place at the Université Paris Diderot, Bâtiment Condorcet, 10 rue Alice Domon et Léonie Duiquet 75013 Paris, from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. Maps and directions can be found here.

Programme –    full year pdf version with abstracts

November 25, 2015 – room 646 AWorkshop on Zhangjiashan tomb 247
Alain Thote, Les manuscrits de la région de Jingzhou au IIe s. avant notre ère : contexte archéologique
Enno Giele, Tombs and Money
Daniel Morgan, What can you do with a Calendar? Extracting Facts, Stories, and Information otherwise pertinent to your own Field from a Table of Dates
Ulrich Lau, The legal manuscripts from Zhangjiashan tomb 247 revisited
Thies Staack, Legal Manuscripts from Tombs: Some Reflections on their Possible Compilation, Use and Function

December 10, 2015 – room 483ATheoretical and Linguistic approaches to scientific texts of the past
Julie Lefebvre, «Parts of text» and «parts in text»: towards a differentiation
Maarten Bullynck, Sublanguages, their use in the history of science, an exploration
Martha Cecilia BustamanteSome comments regarding Paul Ricoeur’s view on trace

January 7, 2016 – room 483A Working on ancient mathematical sources: Textual environment and historiographic operations
CHEN Zhihui, On the Rediscovery of the Jade Mirror of the Four Origins, and its Interpretations by Luo Shilin and Shen Qinpei
Pierre Chaigneau, The use of algebraic formulas in the commentaries on mathematical cuneiform texts: the case of the tablet BM 85196
Matthieu Husson, Editing a Zij at the turn of the 20th century : the case of Carlo Alfonso Nallino (1872-1938)

February 11, 2016 – Room 483A- Discussing how language shapes thought
Tuska Benes, Mathematics after the Linguistic Turn of the Early Nineteenth Century: Three Frameworks
Eva Cancik-Kirschbaum, Encoding language – decoding script: the case of cuneiform
Christine Proust, How thought shapes language: a brief historiographical overview and some examples selected among mathematical cuneiform texts from late Old Babylonian period

February 12, 2016 – Room 483A- A lecture by Tuska Benes
Tuska Benes, On Language-Structure and the Indian Positional Method: The Humboldt Brothers, Comparative Linguistics, and the Autonomy of Palpable Math

March 10, 2016 – Room 483A- Parts of texts and writing by compilation
Caspar Hirschi, Handwriting in Print: Graphological Publications during the Dreyfus Affair
Jacqueline Léon, Harris’ sublanguages: intermediary objects for text processing
Florence Bretelle-Establet, Parts and Tables of Contents in Chinese Medical Texts

April 14, 2016 – Room 483A- Genres of writing in the history of ancient science
CHEN Zhihui & ZHOU Xiaohan, Establishing the orthodox: Writing and editing biographies of practitioners in the mathematical sciences in Chinese Qing Dynasty. 塑造传统:中国清代对畴人传记的编写.
Agathe Keller, Listing biographies in histories of mathematics of the Indian subcontinent
Martina Schneider, History of (ancient) mathematics in the German biographical lexicon ADB

May 2nd and 3rd, 2016Conference with the Center for the study of manuscript cultures of Hamburg University, on Mistakes and the study of manuscripts
Robert Middeke-Conlin, Errors, Mistakes, and Evidence for a Counting Device
Sébastien Maronne, Mistakes and the edition of mathematical letters of early modern period
Pierre Chaigneau & Christine Proust, Errors in mathematical procedure texts from the Old Babylonian period: the work of a poorly educated scribe?
Erreurs dans les textes mathématiques à procédures de la période Paléo-babylonienne : l’œuvre d’un scribe moyennement éduqué ?

Eleonora Sammarchi, Mistakes and «false mistakes» in arabic manuscripts on algebra : a case study
HIROSE Sho, Do numbers matter? Mistakes occurring in commentaries for working examples in a Sanskrit astronomical treatise
Matthieu Husson, Astronomical tables as handwritten objects: errors, corrections and annotation in the Corpus Christi College Ms 283 fol 114- 145

May 12, 2016 – Room 483A- Printing scholarship
Henrik Kragh Sørensen, Appropriating role models for the mathematical profession: Biographies in the American Mathematical Monthly around 1900
Karine Chemla, Publishing on the history of mathematics at the end of the 18th and in the 19th century in France
ZHOU Xiaohan Célestin, For whom were mathematics works written? –Examining the issue from the perspective of printing mathematics in the Ming Dynasty/ –Examining mathematics in the Ming dynasty from the perspective of printing

June 9, 2016 – Room 483A- Perspectives on the constitution of collections containing scientific documents of the past
Reviel Netz, The scale of ancient culture
Florence Bretelle Establet, The Making of the Morrison Collection of Chinese Books

Continuing on page 2 with the previous academic year’s programmes