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Department of History Sherwood Lecture: Dr. Pamela H. Smith

Thursday, March 2, 2023
5:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Grant Hall
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The Department of History presents the 2023 John M. Sherwood Memorial Lecture: "Lizards, Metals, Stones, and Sands: Practical Investigations and Vernacular Knowledge Systems in Early Modern Europe," with Dr. Pamela H. Smith

Numerous remedies and techniques in early modern Europe (1400-1750) emerged out of vernacular usage and were subsequently transmitted upward to texts and text-based regimes of professional training. Such practices have often been seen as the result of so-called trial and error processes. This view, however, does not do justice to the practical material investigations of kitchens and workshops, nor to the larger knowledge systems and “material imaginaries” of natural generation and transformation that underpinned these practices. Drawing evidence from the Making and Knowing Project’s research on practical and craft knowledge, this lecture will illustrate such practical investigations and vernacular knowledge systems and argue for new narratives in the history of knowledge.

Pamela H. Smith is Seth Low professor of history at Columbia University, and founding Director of the Center for Science and Society and of its cluster project The Making and Knowing Project (  Her articles and books examine craft and practice, and its relationship to scientific knowledge. 

A catered reception will follow the lecture. RSVPs are required.

Department of History
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