Knowledge Spaces*

by NN last modified 2011-10-02

Anatomisches Theater

Das Anatomische Theater ist eine medizinische Zentralinstitution der Frühen Neuzeit. Konzipiert und realisiert als Ort der medizinischen Lehre wurde es von Universitäten, ärztlichen Korporationen und Chirurgengilden mit Unterstützung städtischer und territorialer Obrigkeiten eingerichtet und betrieben. Ziel war es, auf der Grundlage von Sektionen den Bau des menschlichen Körpers zu demonstrieren, um damit ebenso medizinisches Grundlagenwissen zu vermitteln, wie einen Beweis für die göttliche Schöpfung zu liefern, auf die Endlichkeit des menschlichen Lebens zu verweisen und letztlich die Selbsterkenntnis des Zuschauenden zu befördern. Über die Grundfunktion einer anschaulichen Lehre ergaben sich auf dem Anatomischen Theater überdies nachhaltige Impulse für das medizinische Sammeln und Forschen.

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Botanischer Garten

Botanische Gärten stellen zugleich künstliche wie natürliche Räume für das gelenkte Aufeinandertreffen des Menschen mit der Natur dar. Sie ermöglichen einzigartige Begegnungen nicht nur mit Pflanzen, sondern auch mit dem dazu jeweils gültigen Wissen. In der Tat ist es der explizite Wissensbezug, der den botanischen Garten seit Anfang des 16. Jahrhunderts von anderen Gartenformen unterscheidet, denn in ihm wird mithilfe lebendiger und getrockneter Pflanzensammlungen botanisches Wissen hervorgebracht. Darüber hinaus begründete er einen auf "Betrachtung" ausgerichteten Lern- und Bildungsort. Die Forschung, das Studium, die Vermittlung, Gestaltung und Aneignung botanischen Wissens waren im Laufe von vier Jahrhunderten in jeweils unterschiedlichen Zusammenhängen einem Wandel unterworfen. Die Funktionen des botanischen Gartens veränderten sich. Der Garten Eden oder die Arche Noah dienten als erste symbolträchtige Bezüge. Bildeten beide zunächst nur eine Vision, so gewannen sie ab dem 18. Jahrhundert neuen Einfluss, indem sie für die Öffentlichkeit gelungene Referenzfolien darstellten. Ihre globale Relevanz bezogen die botanischen Einrichtungen – wie der berühmte Garten, den Botaniker Carl von Linné (1707–1778) in Uppsala leitete – aus der utopischen Vorstellung, eine Gesamtschau der Pflanzenwelt erreichen zu können. Seit dem letzten Jahrhundert wurden botanische Gärten mehrheitlich einem Erhaltungsprogramm gefährdeter Arten gewidmet. Weltweit öffentlich zugänglich und heute in mehr als 1400 Standorten vertreten, erweist sich der botanische Garten als florierende, multifunktionale Wissens- und Forschungseinrichtung.

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Pseudoscience

The term "pseudoscience" is used to imply that a person or group who is using the term "science" to describe their activities, thereby laying claim to the associated societal status, is not entitled to do so. The prefix "pseudo-" is derived from the Greek word ψεύδειν, meaning "to cheat, lie or deceive". Thus, the accusation of pseudoscience suggests the fraudulent appropriation of the status of science. The term primarily implies a value judgement. It is viewed as being of little descriptive or analytical value in present-day discussions of the theory of science. While attempts to establish a normative definition of the concept seem doomed to failure, an investigation of historical usage of the term is interesting from a conceptual historical perspective. A description of the varying theoretical concepts and empirical usages of the term pseudoscience over longer time periods as well as in intercultural and transnational comparisons of scientific systems also describes ex negativo the historical and cultural development of concepts of scientific validity.

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Chambers of Art

As collection rooms based on a universalist approach, the chambers of art and wonders (Wunderkammern) were characteristic of the pre-modern era. In them, artefacts and natural objects were presented as an image of the macrocosm, as a new earthly order in miniature. They must also be viewed as a phenomenon of perception, as their almost endemic spread on the European continent – starting in Italy and becoming especially common in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation – was connected with a new consciousness of space. In particular, the discovery of central perspective during the Renaissance played a central role in the emergence of chambers of wonders. The most significant and most valuable collections were accumulated by and in princely residences and at least up to the mid-17th century were primarily for prestige purposes. In contrast to these, smaller chambers of wonders were established by patrician researchers and scholars, who can perhaps be viewed as pioneers of this collection phenomenon. Additionally, increasingly global trade, the rebirth of classical antiquity, an increasingly profane perspective on nature, and an increasing interest in genealogical and cultural roots played a particularly important role in the emergence of chambers of wonders. These universal collections flourished from after 1500 to about the end of the 18th century. The specialist collections of present-day museums, on the other hand, emerged largely independently of holistic models of the world as presented in the chambers of wonders.

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Hospital / Krankenhaus

Das Krankenhaus ist ein typischer Sonderort der Moderne: Versammelt werden kranke Menschen im Sinne einer idealiter sozial und weltanschaulich indifferenten wissenschaftlichen Medizin und mit dem ausschließlichen Ziel, diese Menschen zu heilen, um sie so rasch und nachhaltig wie möglich aus dem Krankenhaus wieder entlassen zu können. Konstitutiv ist der nicht dauerhaft, sondern vorübergehend konzipierte Ausschluss aus der ubiquitär vorgestellten Gemeinschaft der Gesunden und der gleichzeitige Einschluss in einen durch medizinisches Wissen und daraus abgeleitete Verfahren dominierten Raum. Der in den Dimensionen "Einschluss und Ausschluss" sowie "medizinisches Wissen und Krankheitserfahrung" in historischer Perspektive beschreibbare Raum "Hospital/Krankenhaus" umreißt einen zentralen Treffpunkt wie auch die kritische Weggabelung zwischen unterschiedlichsten Menschen, zwischen Erkrankten und Heil-, Verwaltungs- und geistlichem Personal, zwischen Gesundheit und Krankheit, zwischen Medizin und Gesellschaft.

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Laboratory

The laboratory is an exemplary site of modernity. In it, human and machine, organisms and mechanisms, body and technology combine and contrast with one another in order to produce new scientific facts. However, the beginnings of the laboratory are to be found in the early modern period. In particular, the workshops of alchemists and apothecaries were referred to as laboratories from the 17th century onwards. In the context of the university reforms of the 19th century, laboratories for chemistry, physics and biology increasingly became genuine sites of research. In the process, the distinct laboratory cultures in the various countries enriched each other, but also competed with one another, as the example of Franco-German relations shows. The laboratory and its iconography continue to define our understanding of scientific practice up to the present. At the same time, the laboratory is undergoing a process of dissolution and dispersal, as demonstrated by international macro-projects such as the Human Genome Initiative or the gigantic particle accelerators of current physics research. The laboratory has created history largely as an enclosed space. However, its future appears to be open.

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Popularisation of Science

In recent decades historians and sociologists of science have significantly revised their views on how science relates to popular culture. They have replaced the model in which scientific knowledge is disseminated to a passive audience with one in which there is constant two-way interaction between the scientific community and the public. For much of the time since the emergence of modern science in the seventeenth century those who investigated nature operated in an environment where relating their work to patrons and supporters influenced how that work was done. The image of a professional scientific community remaining aloof from the public and relying on science writers and journalists to disseminate a simplified report of their research findings could not be applied to these early periods and was never truly valid even for the late twentieth century. This article outlines the new interpretation of the relationship between science and the public and surveys changes in how the interaction worked from the seventeenth century to the present. Initially there was no professionalized scientific community and those who studied nature had to arouse the interest of aristocratic patrons and eventually larger groups who could provide financial support. In the mid-nineteenth century it was still taken for granted that scientists were public intellectuals who engaged in debates about the wider implications of their work. Major theoretical initiatives were launched in books that could be read by the educated layperson. Even when a professionalized scientific community emerged at the end of the nineteenth century, a significant proportion of scientists still saw it as their duty to encourage support for their work by writing educational material for non-specialist readers. Although many abandoned this responsibility temporarily in the later twentieth century, recent developments have again shown the scientific community that it is necessary to engage with public concerns about the impact of applied science.

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Salon

In Salons pflegten Frauen seit dem 16. Jahrhundert eine spezifische Form der Konversationsgeselligkeit und meldeten in einem durch die Ideale der honnête femme abgesteckten Rahmen zugleich ihre Teilhabe an der res publica litteraria an. Neben einer internationalen frankophonen Salontradition entwickelten sich muttersprachliche Salons mit teils modifizierten Strukturen. Vielfach untereinander vernetzt, doch auch mit literarischen und musikalischen Kreisen sowie kulturellen Institutionen (Akademien, Theatern, Museen usf.), waren die Salons bis zu den Umbrüchen des frühen 20. Jahrhunderts Ausdruck und Medium einer europäischen Konversations- und Persönlichkeitskultur und leisteten ihren Beitrag zur Emanzipation der Frau.

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University Collections

European universities house a variety of collections that played, and continue to play, an important role in the development of academic traditions, in the founding and differentiation of individual disciplines, and in the concrete practice of research and teaching. For a long time historians of science have neglected these collections, but in recent years a growing concern with the material dimensions of knowledge cultures (Wissenskulturen) has awakened a greater interest. Yet although increased efforts are being made to identify them, classify their contents and groups of objects, analyse their functions and usages, and to explore the history of individual objects and collections, fundamental research into the full European dimension of collections remains a desideratum. With this background in mind, this article attempts to provide a first historical survey and typology of European collections.

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World's Fairs

As a communication medium, the world's fairs of the 19th century were the contemporary equivalent of the present-day world wide web. Given their enormous attendance figures, which far exceeded the reach of all other media, the historical significance of international exhibitions can hardly be overstated. From the opening of the "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations" in London in May 1851 onward, large expositions were held periodically in almost all major cities. The aim was to present to an international audience a miniature version of the world that was as true to scale as possible, present only for a limited time at a clearly defined site within the ever-changing host city. This article gives an overview of the historical development of this 19th century mass- and meta-medium, describes its most significant forms, functions and effects, and discusses the extent to which world's fairs in Europe have decreased in impact since the beginning of the 20th century.

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