Workshop “Performing and Knowing. Experimental and Sensory Approaches”

Performance and reenactment have been employed as a method of research in the history of science for several decades. This workshop aims to take stock of this work and to reflect upon the value and challenges of these approaches today, for instance in relation to historians’ renewed interest in materiality and sensuality. The workshop also seeks to replace this work and thinking within broader contexts:

- The long history of performing knowledge as part, e.g. of teaching and popularization, but also accross the sciences: not all sciences stress the value or necessity of replicating experiments or observations, for instance.

- How does history of science and technology compare with other fields such as archeology, anthropology or theatre and performance studies that each understand and use performance in slightly different manners; what can historians learn from other approaches?

Each speaker will present a case study (possibly including a performance), explicitly framing it within its theoretical framework and methodology. Discussions will help develop an interdisciplinary perspective on the issue.


9h45 Welcome
10:00 Performances and medialities
Chair & Introduction Charlotte Bigg (Paris, CAK)
10: 15 Sarah Dellmann  (Utrecht, Uni): What we learned from “creative re-use” activities in the A Million Pictures project
11: 00 Erika Wicky (Liège, Uni): The Olfactory Art in the Age of Reproduction
(+ Experiments)
11h 30 Coffee break
11:45 Performing as teaching and communicating (Round table)
“History of science, museum and mediations”
Stephen Johnson (Oxford, Museum of the history of science): The museum as performance: re-engaging research with the display of science
Simon Werrett (London, UCL): Fireworks Fit For A Queen? Restaging Early Modern Fireworks for TV
1:30 Break (Lunch)
2:30 Performing as object and method of research
Chair & Introduction, Marie Thébaud-Sorger (Oxford, MFO)
2: 45  Sigrid Leyssen (Paris, CAK): On Action Perspectives and Re-Animation. Exploring Ways to study the history of perception (+ Experiments)
3:30 Melissa van Drie (Cambridge): Reshaping the ear, taking the voice in hand: the actor and the phonograph.
+ Experiments with phonograph with Dr. Aleks Kolkowski (tbc)
4 : 30 Tea break
5: 45 Rafael Mandressi (Paris, CAK): Foreign dances, foreign bodies: Parisian embodiments of the tango in the early 20th Century
5:15 Ludovic Coupaye (London, UCL) (on Anthropology of techniques, material culture and technical performances title tbc)
6:00 Final Discussion

Convenors: Charlotte Bigg, Rafael Mandressi and Marie Thébaud-Sorger,
joint event Centre Alexandre Koyré & Maison Française d’Oxford