Workshop: "Circulation of Knowledge: Instruments and Collections in History" - Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del IPN/CEIICH-UNAM (Mexico City) - 5-8 December 2011

Circulation of Knowledge: Instruments and Collections in History
5-8 December 2011

Over the past year, brought together by a common commitment to the material aspects of science, we have formed a research group – made up by scholars and graduate students from the UNAM, the UAM and CINVESTAV-IPN – that studies instruments from a socio-historical perspective. One of our principal objectives is to question the assumption that scientific instruments are objective, neutral, ubiquitous and innocuous. We study them, not as faithful reproductors of evidence, independent of those who use them or of the conditions under which they are used, beyond the variations and peculiarities of that which is measured; we propose instead to reconstruct the singular histories and the specific contexts of scientific artifacts in the sixteenth through twentieth centuries Mexico, to analyze them in light of their uses and displacements, displacements between disciplines, but also between places, as instruments and artefacts travel between Europe and America and, in opposite direction, between America and the world.

After almost a year of seminars, discussions, and periodical meetings we would like to invite you to participate in a workshop where we intend to present some of our findings, questions, and conclusions on the topic of scientific instruments. One of our goals in organizing this meeting is to bring together specialists interested in discussing and analyzing the genealogies of instruments and artefacts that participated in the creation of the sciences between America and Europe; reconstructing their locality and their conditions of use; identifying their makers; and re-inserting them into the regime of daily practices and political interests and discourses in which they were immersed.

In order to reflect on the historical, local and temporal, complexity of instruments, we urge you to address the follwing key question: How do instruments engender practices, disciplines and ways of knowing? In order to give a first answer to this question, we propose the reconstruction of singular and contextualized histories of artifacts in different parts of the world, with an emphasis on Mexico, and with particular attention to their uses and their displacements.

PLACE: Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del IPN/CEIICH-UNAM, Mexico City


The workshop will be conducted in Spanish.

Organized by:
Laura Cházaro (CINVESTAV-IPN)
Carlos López Beltran (IIF-UNAM)
Gisela Mateos (CEIICH-UNAM)