NEW WEBSITE LIPSS by cultuurgeschiedenis2
November 3, 2014, 10:54 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

LIPSS has a new website. From now on you can find LIPSS at:

Symposium over Georges Lemaître by cultuurgeschiedenis2
May 1, 2014, 9:46 am
Filed under: Colloquium, Events

Op 7 mei aanstaande vindt er in de Universiteitshal in Leuven een publiek symposium plaats over George Lemaitre (1894-1966), geestelijk vader van de big bang theorie en professor aan de KU Leuven: Georges Lemaitre’s Big Bang in Modern Cosmology.


Call for Papers: Fourth Young Researchers Days in Relations between Logic, Philosophy and History of Science by cultuurgeschiedenis2
April 8, 2014, 7:23 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
When & where

September 26-27, 2014
Louvain-la-Neuve (UCL buildings) and Brussels (Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts).This year, the workshop will be organized in partnership with the 3èmes Rencontres doctorales internationales en philosophie des sciences which will be held in Louvain-la-Neuve by the Société de Philosophie des Sciences on the 25th and 26th of September. Attendance to both congresses will be free and participants are invited to attend both events (from Thursday 25th to Saturday 27th).

Aims and scope

Once again, our workshop will provide an ideal opportunity for young researchers (PhD students, young postdocs) working in the fields of Logic, Philosophy of Science* and History of Science in Belgian Universities, to present their work to a larger community of emerging and established scholars in these fields.

Call for papers

Papers will be accepted in English, Dutch, and French. The lingua franca of YRD4 is English, and applicants are encouraged to present papers in this language. Paper presentations should be about 20 minutes in length, followed by 10 minutes for discussion.Paper proposals (including title, abstract, and institutional affiliation) must be submitted through by May 15, 2014. Abstracts should be 250-300 words in length. For abstracts written in LaTeX, please include the source code in a simple format, with standard commands only. Receipt of your proposal will always be acknowledged. Confirmation of acceptance will be given before the 8th of June.Please note that PhD students working in Philosophy of Science are not allowed to submit papers to both YRD4 and 3èmes Rencontres of the SPS.

Invited speakers

to be announced
Organizing Committee

Patrick Allo (Brussel), Kenneth Bertrams (Bruxelles), Steffen Ducheyne (Brussel), Bruno Leclercq (Liège), Steven Vanden Broecke (Gent), Geert Vanpaemel (Leuven), Bart Van Kerkhove (Brussel).
For more information, please send an e-mail to to the meeting is free of charge for all. There is no need to register. 

Call for Papers: Bodies Beyond Borders. The Circulation of Anatomical Knowledge, 1750-1950 by cultuurgeschiedenis2
February 28, 2014, 8:26 am
Filed under: Events

Leuven, 7-9 January 2015

How does anatomical knowledge move from one site to another? Between 1750 and 1950 the study of anatomy underwent great changes, as a part of the development of scientific medicine, through public anatomies, as well as in the interplay between the two. How did these changes spread geographically? How did knowledge about newly discovered lesions travel from one hospital to another? What was the role of anatomical models in the spread of the public consciousness of syphilis, for example? Was the spread of this knowledge hindered by national borders, or did anatomical knowledge cross those borders easily? These questions are concerned with what James Secord terms ‘knowledge in transit’. To seek an answer to these questions, a conference focusing on the circulation of anatomical knowledge between 1750 and 1950 will be organized in Leuven from 7-9 January 2015. Confirmed speakers are Sam Alberti, Sven Dupré, Rina Knoeff, Helen MacDonald, Anna Maerker, Chloé Pirson, Natasha Ruiz-Gómez and Michael Sappol.

Knowledge does not move by itself – it has to be carried. To better understand how anatomical knowledge moves from place to place, we will seek to trace the trajectories of its bearers. Some of those bearers were tied very specifically to the discipline of anatomy: wax models, preserved bodies (or parts of them) or anatomical atlases, for example. These objects are polysemic in nature, tending to have different meanings in different contexts and for different audiences. It makes the question of how anatomical knowledge travelled all the more pertinent if, for example, wax models that went from a Florentine museum to a Viennese medical training institution underwent a shift in meaning en route. But bearers of knowledge less specifically tied to anatomy were equally important: articles, books and individual persons to name but a few examples.

For our conference we welcome contributions regarding the geographical movement of anatomical knowledge between 1750 and 1950. We are equally interested in ‘scientific’ and ‘public’ anatomy – as well as in exchanges between the two domains. Therefore, we encourage contributions about bearers of anatomical knowledge as wide-ranging as persons (scientists, students, freaks), objects (models, preparations, bodies or body parts), visual representations (films, atlases, wall maps) and practices (dissections, travelling exhibitions), as well as their (transnational and intranational) trajectories.


Paper proposals must be submitted by 1 June 2014.


Please send a 300-word abstract to


Notification of acceptance: early July, 2014.



Vroegmoderne Wetenschapsbeoefening in de Lage Landen by cultuurgeschiedenis2
February 27, 2014, 8:19 am
Filed under: Events

Dag van het Onderzoek van de Vlaams‐Nederlandse Vereniging voor Nieuwe Geschiedenis

In de Verlichting deden Nederlandse dokters chemische experimenten om te begrijpen hoe verborgen levenskrachten het lichaam in beweging zetten. Het onderzoek binnen het VIDI‐project “Vital Matters: Boerhaave’s Chemico–‐Medical Legacy and Dutch Enlightenment Culture” reconstrueert onder leiding van Rina Knoeff deze experimenten en analyseert het ‘Verlichtingslichaam’ op het snijvlak van geneeskunde en cultuur. Dit project zal worden geconfronteerd met het onderzoek van Vlaamse onderzoekers over vitalisme, de rol van empirisme en kenniscirculatie in de Zuidelijke Nederlanden.

Universiteit Gent,

Vrijdag 14 maart 2014

Universiteitsforum (Ufo)

Leszaal Henri Pirenne (eerste verdieping)

Sint‐Pietersnieuwstraat 35, 9000 Gent

Download hier het programma

Lentevergadering “Wetenschapsgeschiedenis” KZM – 16 maart 2013 by cultuurgeschiedenis2
March 6, 2013, 3:06 pm
Filed under: Events

De sectie Geschiedenis van de Lentevergadering van de Koninklijke Zuid-Nederlandse Maatschappij voor Taal- en Letterkunde en Geschiedenis is ditmaal gewijd aan wetenschapsgeschiedenis.

U bent van harte welkom op zaterdag 16 maart in de
gebouwen van de KANTL (Gent) vanaf 10u!

Voor meer informatie over programma en locatie: KZM_Lente2013

Call for Papers: Third Young Researchers Days in Logic, Philosophy and History of Science by cultuurgeschiedenis2
April 19, 2012, 1:36 pm
Filed under: Events

The Belgian Society for Logic and Philosophy of Science and the Belgian National Committee on Logic, History and Philosophy of Science present

Third Young Researchers Days in Logic, Philosophy and History of Science

Brussels, Royal Academy, September 3-4, 2012

The theme of this year’s meeting is the fiftieth anniversary of Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, which included an epoch making theory on scientific methodology, the organization of the scientific community and the historical development of science. At this occasion, and in a time when a renewed interest in overlapping themes between history and philosophy of science has emerged, we invite participants to explore the many ways in which history, philosophy and logic can find fruitful ways to collaborate towards a better understanding of modern science, without however excluding other relevant contributions.

This workshop will be an ideal opportunity for young researchers (PhD students, young postdocs) working in the cited fields to present their work to a larger community, and for all researchers in these fields to meet and reinforce scientific and personal links.

Confirmed plenary speakers: Karine Chemla (Paris), Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen (Leiden), Thomas Nickles (Nevada), Josep Simon (Paris).

We strongly recommend to present papers in English (although also Dutch and French are accepted).

Every paper has a time slot of 30 minutes, including 10 minutes for discussion. Abstracts can be  submitted until the 21st of May 2012 to, as part of the message body, with the names and affiliation of the authors included (for abstracts written in LaTeX, the source code is required in a simple form, with standard commands only). Receipt will always be acknowledged.

Confirmation of acceptance will be given before the 15th of June.

Up to date information on the meeting will be available at

On behalf of the Organizing Committee: Patrick Allo, Kenneth Bertrams, Bruno Leclercq, Geert Vanpaemel, Bart Van Kerkhove.

Call for Papers. Between Autonomy and Engagement Performances of Scientific Expertise 1860-1960 by cultuurgeschiedenis2
October 12, 2011, 8:02 am
Filed under: Events, LIPSS Conference

Interdisciplinary Conference
Leuven (Belgium), 21-23 May 2012

Abstract deadline: 30 January 2011
The word limit for abstracts is 250 words. We welcome contributions from all relevant fields, from the history of science and technology to the history of ideas, sociology and philosophy of science.

Please send your abstract to:


Key notes (confirmed):
Harry Collins (Cardiff University), Graeme Gooday (Leeds University), Frank Huisman (Descartes Centre, University of Utrecht), Raf de Bont (University of Maastricht), Martin Kohlrausch (Dortmund/K.U.Leuven)

In Science Studies, problems of scientific expertise have drawn tremendous attention in recent years. The emergence of expert authority within ever more fields of human activity has often been associated with the emergence of a new type of expert knowledge that evolved in the late nineteenth century. This knowledge, it is argued, related to the growing scientification of the economy, of society and even of politics. At the same time, this expert knowledge resulted from the increasing recruitment of ‘specialists’ by the state in order to back up ever more policy measures in a context of expanding state intervention.

During this conference, we wish to focus upon the complex performance of expertise that came along with this scientification of society. More specifically, this conference will elaborate upon the careful negotiation between two potentially conflicting dynamics of this performance – an ever growing autonomy of expertise, on the one hand, from which experts gained their presumed abilities to overcome social conflict; and an ever increasing engagement of experts with ‘the political’ on the other hand, in order to consolidate their position in a competitive market of knowledge.
We welcome contributions about such distant fields as expertise in public policy (e.g health policy or agricultural policy), courtroom expertise (e.g expert witnessing) and economic governance expertise (e.g business administration).

1. In order to explore this performance of expertise, we wish to focus in the first place upon the newly emerging social roles that were performed by scientific experts, as well as the cultural meanings that were ascribed by them to these roles. To what extent did state recruitment of scientists, profound urbanization and democratization of society put traditional self-representations of scientists under pressure? In order to lay bare these new roles, the genealogy of expertise as a concept should be focused upon as well. Did new performances tap in into older meanings of expertise that were held up by practitioners such as physicians and craftsmen, rather than by laboratory scientists? Whereas nineteenth century experts presented themselves as distanced observers in the first place, did they also frame themselves as committed, ‘experienced’ witnesses? What did this mean for the expert’s autonomy and engagement on a social level?

2. We also wish to focus, in the second place, upon the construction of the different fields of expert knowledge by experts. To what extent did scientist help to conceptualize these fields of intervention, building likewise upon their perceived autonomy and engagement? In order to conceptualize the shaping of these fields by scientific experts and their counterparts, focus could be put upon medical and engineering models such as ‘sanitation measures’ in health policy, Malthusian and other concepts in agricultural policy, scientific management and efficiency models in economic governance, or criminal anthropological concepts in scientific expert witnessing in the court room.

3. We wish to elaborate, in the third place, upon the backfiring of this expertise engagement within the scientific community. How did experts and non-experts alike evaluate the fate of autonomy and engagement in the age of expertise? To what extent did the rise of expert knowledge imply the persistence of an autonomous field of scientific inquiry, both as a contrasting image and as a necessary condition for the performance of expertise? We especially welcome contributions about the failures of expertise as perceived within scientific communities. Here again, the fragilities of expertise should help to lay bare expertise as an open ended performance, rather than as a ready made tool of a fixed ‘technocracy’.

4. In the fourth place, we wish to focus upon the interdependent meanings of scientific expertise and politics. How did experts conceptualize the political sphere, and how did notions of ‘expert governance’ and ‘technocracy’ influence that sphere? We do welcome contributions about the embedment of expertise within the political cultures of progressive liberalism, newly emerging socialism and reinvented conservatism. At the same time, however, we wish to dig deeper into the continuous use of older concepts such as social physics, social mechanics and social engineering. These concepts had been at the core of political thinking from the early nineteenth century onwards and therefore could be studied as highly respectable points of reference for newly emerging experts.

Leuven Interdisciplinary Platform for the Studies of the Sciences (LIPSS)

& Research Unit Cultural History since 1750
University of Leuven,
Blijde Inkomststraat 21
Box 3307
BE 3000 Leuven

7th Laboratory History Conference by cultuurgeschiedenis2
February 4, 2011, 12:37 pm
Filed under: Events

7th  Laboratory History Conference

Leuven, 6-8 June 2011

Conference Program:

The 7th Laboratory History Conference will be organized in Leuven (Belgium) from 6 to 8 June 2011. This conference is the first Laboratory History Conference to be staged in Europe. Earlier conferences have been organized in Baltimore (2009) and Brookhaven (2010). Host of the conference is the Research Unit Cultural History after 1750 at K.U. Leuven (

The aim of the conference is to investigate the history of the modern laboratory in relation to its institutional environment, ranging over national styles of research, different disciplines and both formal and informal functions. We welcome contributions that address such topics as the early modern laboratory; the laboratory in the colonial and developing world; field stations, observatories, research vessels and other non-traditional laboratories; the practice of testing, measuring and quality control; biomedical laboratories and clinics; virtual laboratories and the cultural representation of the laboratory. We are also interested in papers that discuss strategies for documenting the history of the laboratory, such as oral sources, archives, photography, and ‘born digital’ records.

For further information please contact Prof. Geert Vanpaemel or Liesl de Windt at

New Project: La société du spectacle La fête baroque entre Italie et anciens Pays-Bas (1585-1685) by cultuurgeschiedenis2
January 13, 2011, 3:26 pm
Filed under: Events

LIPSS member Koen Vermeir (KUL/CNRS), together with Ralph Dekoninck (UCL/GEMCA), Annick Delfosse (ULg) and Maarten Delbeke (UGent), will take the lead of the recently launched Inter-university Project  (2011-2014) ‘La société du spectacle La fête baroque entre Italie et anciens Pays-Bas (1585-1685)’

Présentation du projet (French presentation)

Si de nombreux chercheurs se sont penchés sur les rapports entre Italie et anciens Pays-Bas méridionaux à l’époque de la Renaissance, la période qui a succédé à ce premier échange d’idées et de formes a suscité une moindre attention. L’évolution de ces liens étroits mériterait pourtant d’être étudiée au-delà des XVe et XVIe siècles, en étant particulièrement attentif au lent glissement d’une culture humaniste vers une culture dite baroque. Loin de penser ces deux courants artistiques et intellectuels comme de pures importations en provenance d’Italie, des travaux récents ont mis en évidence les formes spécifiques qu’ils ont pu prendre dans les anciens Pays-Bas catholiques.

Par ailleurs, si la notion même de baroque a été largement questionnée, notamment quant à la validité de son application dans le champ des arts plastiques, elle a pu récemment être réinterrogée à la lumière des quelques rares études menées sur ce qu’il convient désormais d’appeler la culture du spectacle. Cette dernière appellation présente l’intérêt de réinscrire le champ des beaux-arts dans celui plus vaste des autres formes d’expression audio-visuelle comme le théâtre et la musique avec lesquelles ils fusionnent à des fins notamment de célébration d’un événement politique et/ou religieux. À côté de ces arts visuels et scéniques, la science a, elle aussi, contribué à l’élaboration de cette culture qui fait une grande place aux effets merveilleux rendus possibles par les progrès techniques, ces spectacles devenant ainsi des lieux d’expérimentation non seulement artistique mais aussi scientifique.
Par son caractère multi-médiatique et ses enjeux en termes de représentations, la fête baroque s’impose ainsi comme objet fascinant pour l’analyse culturelle de la première modernité. Afin de saisir la diversité et la complexité de cette convergence des arts et des sciences ainsi que ses répercussions sur la société de cette époque, il importe de tenir compte des divers facteurs tant matériels, techniques, économiques, artistiques qu’humains qui ont présidé à ses différentes modalités d’expression, comme des enjeux politico-religieux qui la sous-tendent.

The project is funded by the Politique scientifique fédérale Belge, on behalf of  the Academia Belgica, the Institut Historique Belge de Rome and the Fondation Nationale Princesse Marie-José.