Vincent DeSantis Lecture - Denise Phillips


Location: 109 O'Shaughnessy

Professor Denise Phillips is an associate professor of history at UT-Knoxville, and author of the book, published last year by University of Chicago Press, Acolytes of Nature: Defining Natural Science in Germany, 1770-1850. The lecture will take place Friday, March 1st at 3:30pm in 109 O'Shaughnessy. As usual, light refreshments will be provided.

Denise Phillips

Defining Natural Science: Expertise and Cultural Authority in Germany, 1770-1850

Abstract: Although many of the practical and intellectual traditions that make up modern science date back centuries, the category of “science” itself is a relative novelty. Before 1800, there was no standard collective term for the sciences of nature in any of Europe’s various languages. During this period, the modern German word that would later mean “science,” Naturwissenschaft, was a loosely-defined term with several possible meanings and multiple synonyms. By 1850, however, the term was in use everywhere and had become a fundamental category of German culture. Dr. Phillips’ talk will examine the emergence of this new category, along with the reasons why Germans first came to think of science as a distinctive, unified enterprise.