Seminar Rethinking Practices and Cultures in the History of Science, 2011-2016

Université Paris Diderot  – bâtiment Condorcet – 10 rue Alice Domon et Léonie Duquet
75013 Paris, from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm,

Presentation for 2015-2016

The seminar, organised under the auspices of SPHERE,  is dedicated to the concept of practice and culture in today’s history and philosophy of science.

A growing number of philosophers, philologists, sociologists, anthropologists and historians of science agree on the importance of studying not only scientific knowledge as such, but also scientific “practices” and scientific “cultures.” However, approaches vary. Some scholars use the word practice in singular, others prefer practices, in plural. Do the two groups imply the same thing? Similarly, the variety of meanings attached to the term of “culture” in HPS publications calls for clarification. It is part of the objectives of the SAW project to examine in a critical way uses of these concepts in HPS today. We also intend to confront this theoretical discussion with analyses of case studies, presented in a dialogical form. These case studies will systematically cover analyses of mathematical practices and cultures in the ancient world, and analyses of early modern and modern scholarly practices and cultures.

Programme 2015-2016 pdf version with abstracts

December 3, 2015 – room 366A – Session 1
Justin Smith, How Can the Anthropology of Culture Help Us to Overcome the Bias of ‘Civilisation’ in Intellectual History? Text readings of Marshall Sahlins, Adam Kuper and Jack Goody
Koen Vermeir, Texts reading, Koen Vermeir “Historicizing Culture. A Revaluation of Early Modern Science and Culture”
Jonardon Ganeri, Pluralism about Epistemic Cultures: Reflecting on the Sanskrit Knowledge Systems
Karine Chemla,Mathematical cultures in ancient China. Previous views and new insights

February 3, 2016 – room 646A – Session 2
Guillaume Lachenal, texts reading of Fa-ti Fan, Romain Bertrand, Kapil Raj
Claude-Olivier Doron, Texts reading of Hans-Joerg Rheinberger, Karine Chemla and Evelyn Fox Keller
Matthieu Husson, Mathematical Practices/ Mathematical cultures: perspectives from late medieval Europe
François Lê, Geometrical equations: a “cultural system”

March 2, 2016 – room 646A – Session 3
Ivahn Smadja,Texts reading of Matti Bunzl and Andrew Zimmerman
Nadine de Courtenay,Texts reading of Hasok Chang
Christine Proust, Cultures of quantification: multiple ways of evaluating surfaces in Mesopotamia Hans-Joerg Rheinberger, Glimpses into the Space Between Laboratory and Discipline

May 4, 2016 – room 646A – Session 4
Eric Vandendriessche, Texts reading of E. Tyler, Primitive culture, Chapter “the art of counting”
Marc Vander Linden, Archaeological culture, material culture or culture? Material and anthropological dimensions of a debated concept,  and Texts reading
Diana Solares Pineda, Calculation and numerical writings : a space of conflict between agricultural workers. Le calcul et les nombres écrits : un espace de tension entre des travailleurs agricoles
Agathe Keller et HIROSE Sho, On schools, traditions or cultures in Sanskrit mathematical and astral sciences: some considerations.

June 20, 2016 – room 646A – Session 5
Florence Bretelle-Establet, Texts reading of Sean Hsiang-Lin LEI,
Neither Monkey nor Horse, Medicine in the Struggle over China’s modernity, The University of Chicago Press, 2014, chap 8,  “The Germ Theory and the Prehistory of “Pattern Differentiation and Treatment Determination”
Ludovic Coupaye, Texts reading of
♦ Clifford Geertz: The Impact of the Concept of Culture on the Concept of Man in The Interpretation of Culture, Chapter 2, 35-54
♦ Philippe Descola: The Great Divide in Beyond Nature and Culture, Chapter 3, 57-85
♦ Michael Carrithers (ed.): Ontology is just another word for Culture in Critique of Anthropology
online: Not all texts, but people should choose one text and at least read the introduction and the debate at the end.
♦ Haudricourt, André-Georges 1987[1962]: “Domestication des animaux, culture des plantes et traitement d’autrui” in La Technologie, science humaine. Recherches d’histoire et d’ethnologie des techniques. Paris, Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, 277-285.

Reviel Netz, The Mathematical Cultures of Greek Cultures
LEE Eunsoo, Makers, Readers, and Translators of Mathematical Diagrams