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Knowing Nature in the Medieval and Early Modern Worlds

Tawes Hall, University of Maryland, College Park
Friday, October 24, 2014 - 8:30 AM to Saturday, October 25, 2014 - 6:00 PM

Nature, according to  the critic Raymond Williams, is quite possibly “the most difficult word in the English language.” The genealogy of nature’s complexities—semantic, philological, epistemological, ontological—are the subject of this two-day conference that seeks to bring into dialogue historians of science, philosophy, art, and literature. How did early writers and artists and other thinkers know and encounter nature? What practices made nature legible? What ethics were thought to arise out of the environment? By what metaphors and strategies did pre-modern people represent the sensible world of matter? This event considers a wide variety of cultural productions in the medieval and early modern periods, seeking to rethink the relation between fields of knowledge and to bridge the widening gap between the humanities and the sciences in our own universities.

Featuring Stephen Campbell (Johns Hopkins University), Jeffrey Cohen (George Washington University), Drew Daniel (Johns Hopkins University), Alan Mikhail (Yale University), David Norbrook (Merton College, Oxford), Joanna Picciotto (UC, Berkeley), Michael Sappol (National Library of Medicine), David Carroll Simon (University of Chicago), Michael Witmore (Folger Shakespeare Library), and Jessica Wolfe (UNC, Chapel Hill).

Please visit our CONERENCE WEBPAGE to learn more and to view the entire program, and send any inquiries to knowingnature@umd.edu.


Knowing Nature is free and open to the public. Please REGISTER so that we may establish temporary access to wireless networks for campus guests, make accurate catering arrangements, and set up facilities to accommodate the group.