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Visual Culture Program

Tuesday, October 1, 2019
12:00pm to 1:00pm
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Dabney Hall 110 (Treasure Room)
Persuasive Images in Early Modern Scientific Books
Sachiko Kusukawa, Professor of History of Science, University of Cambridge,

Abstract: This paper discusses some examples of scientific images from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Modern digitization projects have made available to the public many iconic images from the history of science, but the ways in which these images functioned are best appreciated by examining their relationship with the text, the material context of printed books, and other printed images. These images were rarely stand-alone proofs of true or even accurate scientific knowledge, but rather worked to persuade an audience of authoritative knowledge. At times, the authority of images itself could be undermined, especially if the author was also the engraver of his images. Images thus played a complex role in the relationship between knowledge and authority in early modern scientific books.

Lunch will be provided.

Speaker Bio: Kusukawa is Professor of History of Science at the University of Cambridge. Her book Picturing the book of nature: image, text and argument in sixteenth-century medical botany and human anatomy (2012) was awarded the Pfizer Prize of the History of Science Society.

About the Visual Culture Program
The Caltech-Huntington Program in Visual Culture, which is funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and based in the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), features new undergraduate course offerings, guest lecturers, and other programming to foster conversations between humanists and scientists. Its activities are organized by HSS and other Caltech faculty in collaboration with scholars at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

For more information, please contact Cecilia Lu by phone at 626-395-1724 or by email at [email protected].