Centaurus

ISSN: 0008-8994

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  1.  2
    Book review: Elena Serrano, Ladies of Honor and Merit: Gender, Useful Knowledge, and Politics in Enlightened Spain, Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2022, 244 pp., ISBN: 9780822947165. [REVIEW]Francesca Antonelli - 2023 - Centaurus 65 (2):437-439.
  2.  4
    Redeeming the Past, Present, and Future.Ken Arnold - 2023 - Centaurus 65 (2):417-425.
    Taking its cue from this special issue on the interweaving of different types of time through science and museum collections, this epilogue gives an overview of what sorts of new insights seem possible when different temporal qualities embedded in all collections are allowed to come together? What can we learn from juxtaposing the timings of museums, laboratories, and clinics? Can they lead to better understands of the processes of decay, and the potential for reanimation, inherent in all museum objects?
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  3.  9
    A Matter of Dust, Powdery Fragments, and Insects. Object Temporalities Grounded in Social and Material Museum Life.Tiziana N. Beltrame - 2023 - Centaurus 65 (2):365-385.
    This paper aims to demonstrate how museum collection sustainability is grounded in a range of concrete care practices that are social and material. It explores the unstable nature of heritage materials, drawing on the ecological approach of infrastructure and maintenance studies in the field of art and museums. To do this, I analyse the role of mundane operations in the daily functioning of an exhibition area, presenting data from fieldwork I conducted from 2015–2016 at the Musée du quai Branly in (...)
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  4.  5
    Lively Stasis. Care and Routine in Living Collections of Flies and Seeds.Xan Sarah Chacko & Jenny Bangham - 2023 - Centaurus 65 (2):337-363.
    Collections of living organisms are reservoirs of biological knowledge that operate across times and places. From the mid-20th century, scientific institutions dedicated to the cultivation of such collections have routinized and professionalized their care. But “care,” for these collections, is focused not just on individual organisms—instead, a principal aim of a curator is to maintain the integrity of a reproducing “strain,” “variety,” “line,” or “stock,” and the composition of a collection as a whole. This paper explores the forms, the material (...)
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  5.  7
    Book review: Kevin Lambert, Symbols and Things: Material Mathematics in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021, x + 318 pp., ISBN: 9780822946830. [REVIEW]Jeremy Gray - 2023 - Centaurus 65 (2):433-435.
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  6.  6
    From Mausoleum to Living Room. Practicing Metabolic Carpentry in the Museum.Martin Grünfeld, Adam Bencard & Louise Whiteley - 2023 - Centaurus 65 (2):387-416.
    Museums might seem to be the enemy of metabolism: mausoleums that preserve collections and their knowledge-producing potential, out of time. We argue that museums are in fact intensely metabolic: in their attempts to manipulate the life course and temporalities of objects they proliferate metabolic processes, limits, and potentials. We suggest that looking at the museum in this way can help articulate pressing practical as well as theoretical issues: storage rooms are “constipated,” as traditional practices of disposal cannot keep pace with (...)
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  7.  5
    Collections, Knowledge, and Time.Martin Grünfeld & Karin Tybjerg - 2023 - Centaurus 65 (2):213-234.
    In recent decades, an increasing interest in the dynamics of collections has brought to view how objects circulate as parts of networks of knowledge and how collections can acquire new meanings. Introducing this special issue on Collections, Knowledge, and Time, we want to shift focus from geographical circulation towards the temporal dynamics of collections: the layering and interweaving of asynchronous temporalities as collections are preserved, frozen, reinterpreted, sampled, and destroyed over time, and how these temporalities constitute knowledge potentials. We treat (...)
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  8.  7
    The Lab in the Museum. Or, Using New Scientific Instruments to Look at Old Scientific Instruments.Boris Jardine & Joshua Nall - 2023 - Centaurus 65 (2):261-289.
    This paper explores the use of new scientific techniques to examine collections of historic scientific apparatus and other technological artefacts. One project under discussion uses interferometry to examine the history of lens development, while another uses X-ray fluorescence to discover the kinds of materials used to make early mathematical and astronomical instruments. These methods lead to surprising findings: instruments turn out to be fake, and lens makers turn out to have been adept at solving the riddle of aperture. Although exciting, (...)
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  9.  6
    Filling China’s Gaps. Viral Banks and Bird Collections as Museums for Pandemics.Frédéric Keck - 2023 - Centaurus 65 (2):313-335.
    Two different kinds of collections have been used to anticipate influenza pandemics: viral strains and bird specimens. These collections have been organized in museums and data banks to fill the gaps when specimens were decaying or when viral strains were missing. This article asks how collecting practices changed when such collections integrated specimens from China, considered a reservoir of influenza viruses and bird species, following a recurrent critical trope that Chinese specimens were missing. The article shows that techniques for hunting (...)
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  10.  8
    Book review: Matteo Favaretti Camposampiero & Emanuela Scribano (Eds.), Galen and the Early Moderns, Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2022, xi + 215 pp., ISBN: 9783030863074. [REVIEW]Carmen Schmechel - 2023 - Centaurus 65 (2):429-432.
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  11.  12
    Medical Anamnesis. Collecting and Recollecting the Past in Medicine.Karin Tybjerg - 2023 - Centaurus 65 (2):235-259.
    This paper suggests that the practice of anamnesis—the taking of a patient history in preparation for making a diagnosis, as well as the related form of investigation, historia—offers a way to understand the role of medical collections in generating medical knowledge. Anamnesis derives from ancient Greek “recollecting” or “opening of memory,” and “taking a history” from historia, an ancient and early modern epistemic practice of gathering empirical observations from the past and present. Doctors and medical researchers perform, this paper argues, (...)
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  12.  6
    Entangled Timelines. Crafting Types of Time Through Making Museum Specimens.Adrian Van Allen - 2023 - Centaurus 65 (2):291-312.
    Focused on the material practices of making insect specimens, I explore how shifting concepts of potential are intricately crafted on the lab bench. Different types of time—from personal histories to imagined futures—are created and entangled as butterflies are made into specimens. Transforming a butterfly into a scientific tool does not merely transform the butterfly, I suggest, but also reciprocally folds back to transform the scientist who makes it. Based on ethnographic fieldwork with scientists in the labs and workrooms at the (...)
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  13.  5
    Book review: Julia Schubert, Engineering the Climate: Science, Politics, and Visions of Control, Manchester, UK: Mattering Press, 2021, 280 pp., ISBN: 9781912729265. [REVIEW]Floris Winckel - 2023 - Centaurus 65 (2):441-443.
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  14.  8
    Book review: Antonio Clericuzio, Uomo e Natura. Scienza Tecnica e Società dall'Antichità all'Età Moderna, Roma, Italy: Carocci, 2022, 487 pp., ISBN: 9788829011568. [REVIEW]Paolo Zani & Alessandro Cochetti - 2023 - Centaurus 65 (2):445-447.
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  15.  7
    “Some Typically African Risks”: Safeguarding the Health of Italian Settlers During the Fascist Empire (1935–1941).Costanza Bonelli - 2023 - Centaurus 65 (1):121-152.
    This essay examines the sanitary policies for the protection of overseas communities that Italian fascism employed during the empire. From 1935–1936, the vast scale of the Ethiopian campaign, as well as intensive colonisation programmes, gave new political visibility to the issue of safeguarding Italian settlers from the risks of the tropical climate. In this period, the problem of how Italians could adapt to overseas environments moved beyond the boundaries of scientific discussion to become a major concern of colonial rule. Analysing (...)
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  16.  9
    Locating the Health Hazard, Surveilling the Gecekondu: The Tuberculosis-Control Pilot Area of Zeytinburnu, Istanbul (1961–1963). [REVIEW]Léa Delmaire - 2023 - Centaurus 65 (1):153-186.
    The stigmatisation of the gecekondu in post-1945 Turkey is a common theme in the literature. However, these studies have drawn little connection with health issues, even though these are known to be important in the mechanisms of stigmatisation. Policies for tuberculosis (TB) control—then Turkey's “number one health issue”—have tended to focus on individual and biological factors, to the detriment of social or environmental ones that could contribute to making TB a matter of politics and not only of policies. A close (...)
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  17.  10
    “The Salvation of the Seamen”: Ventilation, Naval Hygiene, and French Overseas Expansion During the Early Modern Period (ca. 1670–1790). [REVIEW]Guillaume Linte & Paul-Arthur Tortosa - 2023 - Centaurus 65 (1):31-62.
    From the 1660s onwards, France tried to establish itself as a leading maritime and colonial power. The first French East India Company allowed a decisive penetration into the Indian Ocean, while the foundation of the Rochefort arsenal was the starting point of a great shipbuilding effort. The archives of the State Secretariat of the French Navy, ports, and learned societies, as well as printed scholarly literature, testify to an increasing mobilisation around the health of the “gens de mer.” Most of (...)
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  18.  10
    “In aria sana”: Conceptualising Pathogenic Environments in the Popular Press: Northern Italy, 1820s–1840s.Marco Emanuele Omes - 2023 - Centaurus 65 (1):91-120.
    By the end of the 1820s, an innovative product was introduced in the northern Italian editorial market: technical and popular periodicals offering “useful knowledge” to a larger audience composed of members of the provincial middle-class, clergymen, and modestly educated craftsmen. By examining their medical content, this paper shows that popularisation did not merely entail disseminating a set of stable, unanimous, and trustworthy medical doctrines; rather, it represented a crucial step in the making of science during a period in which medical (...)
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  19.  5
    Aetiologies of Blame: Fevers, Environment, and Accountability in a War Context (France and Italy, ca. 1800).Paul-Arthur Tortosa & Guillaume Linte - 2023 - Centaurus 65 (1):63-90.
    During the Italian campaigns of the French Revolutionary Wars (1796–1801), several epidemic outbreaks sparked acrimonious aetiological debates: were the fevers spread by soldiers and prisoners of war, or produced by environmental factors? This debate was not only a scientific issue, but also a political one, for causation was linked to accountability. Looking at a series of medical investigations written by French military practitioners, this paper argues that theories of contagion were used by civilians to accuse the army of spreading disease, (...)
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