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Making the World Global. Technology and Knowledge in the Early Modern Period

Research seminar

Prof. Luca Molà and Prof. Antonella Romano

Tuesdays 17:10-19:00, sala Belvedere

Secretary: Francesca Parenti (Office VS 014)

Starts on 10 January 2012



10 January:  Introduction,  Prof. Luca Molà and Prof.  Antonella Romano

•  Ruppert Hall, A., 1954, The scientific revolution; 1500-1800. The formation of the modern scientific attitude,  chap. 8: “Technical factors in the scientific revolution”, p. 217-243. 

• Liliane Hilaire-Pérez and Catherine Verna, ‘Dissemination of Technical Knowledge in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Era’, Technology and Culture, 47 (2006), pp. 536-565.


17 January: European Science, Global Mission, Prof. Antonella Romano 

• Ewalt, M.R., 2008, Peripheral Wonders. Nature, Knowledge, and the Enlightenment in the Eighteenth-Century Orinoco, chap. 2 “Colonization, Commerce and Conversions: Mapping the Economic and Evangelical Values of the Orinoco”, p. 65-94.

• Romano, A., 2010, “L’universalismo della missione gesuita come fenomeno globale?”, Nuova Rivista Storica.


24 January:  Chinese Science and Technology: a European Perspective, Prof. Antonella Romano

• The history of that great and renowned monarchy of China [electronic resource] : wherein all the particular provinces are accurately described, as also the dispositions, manners, learning, lawes, militia, government, and religion of the people, together with the traffick and commodities of that countrey / lately written in Italian by F. Alvarez Semedo ... ; now put into English by a person of quality, and illustrated with several mapps and figures ... : to which is added the history of the late invasion and conquest of that flourishing kingdom by the Tartars .. , London : Printed by E. Tyler for Iohn Crook and are to be sold at his shop ..., 1655.


31 January: The Great Divergence: the Chinese Challenge

•  Liu, Jerry C.-Y., Cultural Logics for the Regime of Useful Knowledge During the Ming and Early-Quing China c. 1400-1700’, History of Technology, 29 (2009).

•  O’Brien, P., ‘The Needham Question Updated: A Historiographical Survey and Elaboration’, History of Technology, 29 (2009).

•  Vries, P., ‘The California School and Beyond: How to Study the Great Divergence’, World History Connected, 2009.


7 February:  Intellectual Property Rights: the Primacy of Europe

•  Belfanti, C.M., ‘Between Mercantilism and Market: Privileges for Invention in Early Modern Europe’, Journal of Institutional Economics, 2 (2006).

•  Biagioli, M., ‘From Print to Patents: Living on Instruments in Early Modern Europe’, History of Science, 44 (2006).


14 February: The History of Inventor Privileges in the 17th century Dutch Republic, Marius Buning (HEC 4th year researcher)

•  Doorman, G., 1942. Patents for inventions in the Netherlands during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, M. Nijhoff. (A selection)

•  Harkness, D.E., 2007. The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution 1st ed., Yale University Press. (A Note about “Science”)

•  Hacking, I., 1983. Representing and intervening: Introductory Topics in the Philosophy of Natural Science, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (pp.149-155).

•  Patent definitions: EPC art. 52 and 35 USC 101.

•  Davids, K., 2000. Patents and Patentees in the Dutch Republic between c. 1580 and 1720. History and Technology, 16(3), pp. 263-284.

Recommended Readings:

•  Bennett, J. A. "The Mechanics' Philosophy and the Mechanical Philosophy," History of Science 24 (1986), pp. 1-28.

•  Davids, K., 1993. Technological Change and the Economic Expansion of the Dutch Republic, c.1580-1680. Economic and Social History in the Netherlands, 4, pp. 79-104.

• Daston, Lorraine. "The Nature of Nature in Early Modern Europe," Configurations 6 (1998): pp. 149-72.

•  Meyer, T., Popplow, Marcus & Popplow, Macus, 2004. “To employ each of Nature’s products in the most favorable way possible” — Nature as a Commodity in Eighteenth-Century German Economic Discourse. Historical Social Research / Historische Sozialforschung, 29(4 (110)), pp. 4-40.

•  Schmitt, Charles B. "Experience and Experiment: A Comparison of Zabarella's View with Galileo's in De Motu," Studies in the Renaissance 16 (1969), pp. 80-138.

•  Shapiro, B., 1994. The Concept “Fact”: Legal Origins and Cultural Diffusion. Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies, 26(1), pp.1-25.

•  Zilsel, Edgar. "The Origins of William Gilbert's Scientific Method," Journal of the History of Ideas 2 (1941), pp. 1-32.


21 February: The Circulation of Textile Technologies in Eurasia

Guest: Prof. Giorgio Riello (Fernand Braudel Fellow)


6 March:  Medicine and Merchant Networks

Guest: Dr. Tara Alberts (Max Weber Fellow)


13 March:  A Clockmaker in the Spanish Empire

Guest: Cristiano Zanetti (HEC 4th year researcher)


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