The last two Birkbeck HCA doctoral student masterclasses of this academic year will take place in the Dreyfus Room, 6-8pm, on Wednesday 27 April and Wednesday 4 May.
Refreshments will be provided and we hope to see as many of you there as possible. Please drop a quick line to Jana to let her know you are coming: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday 27 April 2016, 6-8pm:
Professor Michael Hunter, Birkbeck College, University of London
‘The Fruits of the Archive: Manuscripts and Their Uses in Historical Research’
This presentation will reflect on Professor Hunter’s experience in finding and deploying hitherto unpublished manuscript material in his writings on early modern intellectual history. It will also aim to offer some advice to budding researchers about the advantages and potential pitfalls of making use of material of this kind.
Michael Hunter is Emeritus Professor of History at Birkbeck, and a Fellow of the British Academy. For many years his chief preoccupation was Robert Boyle: he is the principal editor of Boyle’s Works (with Edward B. Davis, 14 volumes, 1999-2000),Correspondence (with Antonio Clerucuzio and Lawrence M. Principe, 6 vols., 2001) and workdiaries (with Charles Littleton, available online at www.livesandletters.ac.uk/wd/index.html). He is also the author of Boyle: Between God and Science (2009), which won both the Samuel Pepys Award and the Roy G. Neville Prize in 2011, while his Boyle Studies: Aspects of the Life and Thought of Robert Boylewas published by Ashgate in 2015. His numerous other books deal with various aspects of seventeenth-century intellectual history, including the early Royal Society and its milieu. Currently, he is working on a full analysis of the frontispiece to Thomas Sprat’s History of the Royal Society (1667), a study which also reflects the concern with the visual culture of the period that led him to set up the website, British Printed Images to 1700 (www.bpi1700.org.uk). A further interest is in attitudes to magic in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, on which he has published various papers as well as The Occult Laboratory (2001), an edition of early accounts of second sight in Scotland.
Wednesday 4 May 2016, 6-8pm:
Professor Jane Caplan, St Antony’s College, Oxford
‘20/20 vision? How to see the state’
James Scott’s classic Seeing Like a State (1998) invited us to see through the eyes of the state. But what kind of optics do historians need to look back at the state? According to the American Optometric Association, ‘20/20 does not necessarily mean perfect vision. 20/20 vision only indicates the sharpness or clarity of vision at a distance. There are other important vision skills, including peripheral awareness or side vision, eye coordination, depth perception, focusing ability and color vision that contribute to your overall visual ability. Some people can see well at a distance, but are unable to bring nearer objects into focus. Others can see items that are close, but cannot see those far away.’ I’ll use this optical metaphor to explore what historians can learn about the state (and power) by deploying the full range of focal lengths and visual skills.