The Text as Fieldwork: The Book of Nature in Early Modern Japan

In early modern Japan, the study of nature, known at the time as honzōgaku, was primarily a bookish enterprise. The work of scholars who studied rocks and minerals, herbs and plants, flowers and trees, insects and fish, birds and animals—or, as they collectively called them, “myriads of things” (banbutsu) or “herbs-trees-birds-beasts-insects-fish-metals-jewels-grounds-stones” (sōmokukinjūchūgyokingyokudoseki)—began and ended with … Continue reading The Text as Fieldwork: The Book of Nature in Early Modern Japan

Negotiating and Communicating Evidence: Lessons from the Anthropocene Debate

Skepticism and debate are always welcome and are critically important to the advancement of science. . . . Skepticism that fails to account for evidence is no virtue.

The executive director of the American Meteorological Society, Keith Seitter, made this distinction about skepticism in his letter to the U.S. Secretary of the Department of Energy, Rick Perry, on June 21, 2017.… Continue reading

Placing Indigenous and European Knowledge on Equal Footing in the Delgamuukw Land Claim

The s  that is now often added to turn the history of knowledge into the history of knowledges  marks a huge challenge. While scholars working within European academic traditions increasingly recognize in principle that there are many kinds of knowledges and endeavor to respect them, any attempt to bring fundamentally different kinds of knowledge into sustained contact is extremely difficult… Continue reading

History of Knowledge and Contemporary Discourse on Science

The polarizing contemporary debate on science in the United States could be extraordinarily interesting for historians of knowledge, if it were occurring in the past. Still, if we could divert our attention from the news for a moment, we might find it offers some food for thought. In the midst of the current conversation, which … Continue reading History of Knowledge and Contemporary Discourse on Science