Workshops - 2016 Archive

Food for Thought. SIHN Workshop Series: On the Margins of Intellectual History


Joseph Gilliers, Cannameliste Français (Nancy: 1751)

Wednesday 7 December 2016
Rogers Room
Woolley Building
The University of Sydney

As the inaugural event of the new SIHN workshop series On the Margins of Intellectual History, participants will explore aspects of their current research projects in the field of food history that connect with a new history of ideas approach to food and cuisine. We are particularly interested in the ways that food is embedded into thinking about utopias, cosmopolitan ideals, and the formation of national identity from the early modern period to the beginning of the nineteenth century in Europe, America and Australia. The aim of the workshop is to consider how participants view their own methodologies in relation to an intellectual history of food and cuisine, where the emphasis is traditionally on tracing ideas through textual sources. A central question of the workshop is how specialists in the field come to understand the ways that ideas develop and circulate through the thoughts and habits of growing, making and eating food, that complement philosophical and other historical sources of writing about food. Within the workshop format, there is less of an expectation on the presentation of fully finished work. We have invited our participants to present a thinking piece, where they will reflect on their research and what they think might constitute a history of ideas through food. Some time devoted to remarks about future work has been welcomed. The wrap-up discussion at the end will provide the opportunity for the group to identify areas of common interests and potential ideas for further research.

Session 1

Robert Appelbaum (Uppsala University) - Ideas, Commodities, Persons and Things: The Case of Brazilian Cannibalism
Garritt Van Dyk (University of Sydney) - Naturally Sweet? Sugar and National Identity in Early Modern England and France

Morning Tea

Session 2

Jacqueline Dutton (University of Melbourne) - Feeding Utopian Desires in Louis-Sébastien Mercier's L'An 2440: rêve s'il en fut jamais (1770)
Darra Goldstein (Williams College) - Andrei Bolotov's Idealized Kitchen Gardens
Barbara Santich (University of Adelaide) - Cooking and Eating in Eighteenth-Century Provence: How, what and why?


Session 3

Nancy Cushing (University of Newcastle) - Bound for Botany Bay: National identity and imported foods in early colonial New South Wales
Jacqui Newling (Sydney Living Museums) - Consuming history: a forensic approach to food and cooking in the early settlement of New South Wales
Jennifer Milam (University of Sydney) - 'Half Virginian, half French style': Cosmopolitan Taste at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

Afternoon Tea

Session 4

Jane Levi (Kings College, London) - The politics of gastronomy - thoughts on the haptic and the everyday
Julie McIntrye (University of Newcastle) - 'Cultivated' modernity: Wine, natural philosophy and moral theories

Wrap up

Space is limited. If you would like to attend this workshop, please contact Professor Jennifer Milam to register your interest.

Food for Thought is co-sponsored by the Symposium of Australian Gastronomy. We are grateful to the 21st symposium co-convenors, Jacqueline Dutton (The University of Melbourne) and Kelly Donati (William Angliss Institute), for providing us with the opportunity to host this workshop at the University of Sydney. We would also like to acknowledge that Robert Appelbaum is Visiting Scholar in the Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne; and Darra Goldstein is a Macgeorge Fellow in the School of Languages and Linguistics, University of Melbourne.

Periodisation Intensive – SIHN Researcher Workshop


Friday 18 November 2016
Rogers Room
Woolley Building
The University of Sydney

The Long Eighteenth Century (arguably 1688-1832) is a temporal landscape overlain with the infrastructure of periodisation. How do the competing narratives of various ‘periods’, ‘revolutions’, and ‘isms’ – Enlightenment, Romanticism, Early Modernity/Modernity – impair or assist conceptual progress? This discussion-focused workshop will discuss these questions in the work of a number of scholars specifically selected for the way in which their work seems to challenge boundaries – conceptual, temporal, and disciplinary – to confirm, complicate, or challenge the sprawling topography of the Long Eighteenth Century. Co-sponsored by SSSHARC.

10:30am - Morning Tea
10:45am - Welcome
11:00am - Clara Tuite (English, University of Melbourne)
11:45am - Mary Spongberg (History, UTS)
12:30pm - Lunch
1:15pm - Kate Fullagar (History, Macquarie University)
2:00pm - Dalia Nassar (Philosophy, University of Sydney)
2:45pm - Afternoon Tea Break
3:00pm - Elizabeth Stephens (Cultural Studies, Southern Cross University)
3:45pm - Conclusion
4:00pm - Close

Experiencing the Transatlantic Garden - Study Day


Saturday 5 November 2016
Chawton House Library

This event is organised by the Southampton Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies in conjunction with the Sydney Intellectual History Network, and funded by the University of Southampton’s Global Partnership Fund.

English, European and American gardens of the eighteenth century are best known for what’s different about them – and eighteenth-century writers were keen to stress those national traits. In this study day we’ll be exploring not only national difference, but how garden designers and garden visitors might share ideas of time and emotion, of national power and domestic pleasure. How might English and American gardens speak to each other across the oceans?

Part 1: English Gardens
Kate Retford (Birkbeck, University of London)
Conversing with the Landscape: Edward Haytley’s portraits of the Brockmans at Beachborough, 1744

Helen Paul (University of Southampton)
Studley Royal Water Gardens and the South Sea Bubble

Part 2: Gardens in England and America
Stephen Bending (University of Southampton)
Pleasure Gardens and the Problems of Pleasure in England and America

Jennifer Milam (University of Sydney)
Transatlantic Garden Spaces: Monticello, Montpelier and Poplar Forest

Dignity Workshop


Thursday 1 September 2016
10am-12pm and 12:30-3:30pm
Seminar Room
Level 2
Fisher Library
The University of Sydney

Co-sponsored by the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation (ACJC), the Nation Globe Empire Research Cluster and Sydney Intellectual History Network (SIHN)

This workshop forms part of a general project concerning the 'recovery' of dignity. The centrality of the term dignity can be located in the work of Hannah Arendt. She argues in The Origins of Totalitarianism that as a result of the 'totalitarian' what has been 'demonstrated' is that 'human dignity needs a new guarantee'. The overall project is premised on the position that the conceptions of dignity that we have are inadequate for the task demanded of them. The contention is that within the philosophical and religious traditions there are the resources for such an undertaking. As such, once distinct elements are reworked and re-examined – in sum the project of recovery – fundamental elements comprising that guarantee can be found. Its presence as 'new' involves recovery. In sum, dignity is neither an invented term nor an invented concept. It is already at work. Hence it is there to be recovered and transformed. Both aspects are fundamental. Each of the papers is a contribution to this general project.

Respondent: Danielle Celermajer, University of Sydney

Francesco Borghesi, University of Sydney
Human Dignity and the Image of God

Starting from Gen 1:26-28 ("et ait faciamus hominem ad imaginem et similitudinem"; Vulgate translation), this paper will look at the ways in which some Patristic, Hermetic, and Humanistic sources have interpreted human nature as mirroring God's divinity in its ability to actualise the unique qualities with which mankind has been endowed.

Nathan Wolski, Monash University
From the Divine Image to Human Dignity: Intimations of Piconian Dignity in Zoharic Literature

The centrality of kabbalistic thought in Pico's oeuvre is well established. Less clear is the role that kabbalistic anthropology may have played in his novel conception of human dignity. Examining the earliest composition of the zoharic corpus, this paper highlights intimations of Piconian dignity, both with a view to shedding light on a potential source of his thought, and as a way of continuing his project of concord.

Andrew Benjamin, Monash University
Redressing the Metaphysics of Nudity: Notes on Seneca, Arendt and Dignity

Arendt famously wrote that the ‘world found nothing sacred in the abstract nakedness of human being’. In Seneca's De beneficiis it is this very nudity that is evoked in order to ground the universality of virtue. If there is a link between virtue and dignity then it has to re-engage the question of universality that is both opened and closed by the evocation of 'abstract nakedness'.

Workshop on Knud Løgstrup’s The Ethical Demand


Weeks 1-6, Semester 2, 2016, Mon 10–12 Quadrangle Building, Latin 1 S224 A14 and Tues 12–2pm Quadrangle Building, History Room S223 A14

Professor Robert Stern (Sheffield University) and Dr Bjorn Rabjerg (Aarhus University) will conduct a special 6 week intensive workshop on Knud Løgstrup's under appreciated work The Ethical Demand (1956). The biblical commandment 'to love your neighbour as yourself' still has great resonance with people, as does the story of the Good Samaritan who helps the injured traveller he encounters on the road. But what exactly does this love require, and what is its basis? Do we have an obligation to care for others, or is it beyond the call of duty? How can love be a matter of obligation at all? If you help the neighbour, can you demand something in return? Should we help them by giving them what they want, or instead what they need? How far do our obligations to others extend – who is the 'neighbour', and might it include 'the enemy'? And does the requirement to help the other come from God's command, or from some sort of practical inconsistency given we all need help ourselves, or from their right to be helped – or simply from the fact they are in need? But can our needs be enough on their own to generate obligations of this sort? Stern and workshop participants consider these sorts of questions in relation to the work of K. E. Løgstrup (1905-1981), a Danish philosopher and theologian, who discussed them in his key work The Ethical Demand (1956) in which he characterised this relation between individuals as involving a 'radical demand' for care, involving important commitments about the nature of life, value, and human interdependency. They will compare his ideas to related themes in Kant, Kierkegaard, Levinas, and contemporary care ethics. By invitation only.

Science and Nature in the Long Eighteenth Century

Friday 19 August 2016
Kevin Lee Room
Level 4, Lobby H
The University of Sydney

Sponsored by The Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science

This workshop will examine a broad range of issues pertaining to the study of nature in Germany from the period of the renouvellement of the Berlin Academy in the 1740s, to the writings of Hegel in the early nineteenth century. Moving from discussions of disciplinary boundaries and disciplinary interrelations to the contents of specific writings in natural philosophy, the workshop will engage with the thought and writings of Maupertuis, Formey, Kant, Schelling, Fichte and Hegel.

  • 9.00 Peter Anstey, ‘The four classes of the Berlin Academy’
  • 9.45 Eric Watkins, ‘Kant on Laws’
  • 10.30 Coffee break
  • 11.00 Michael Olson, ‘Empirical theories of aether and Kant's Opus optimum’
  • 11.45 Jennifer Mensch, ‘Kant and the Skull Collectors: Teleology and Empiricism in the Science of Man’
  • 12.30 Lunch
  • 2.00 Dalia Nassar, ‘Schelling on experience and experiment’
  • 2.45 Clinton Tolley, ‘Overcoming skepticism after Fichte: Schelling on the identity of nature and science’
  • 3.30 Coffee break
  • 4.00 Ulrich Schloesser, ‘Natural laws, Life and Self-Consciousness: Hegel's Argument in Chapter 3 of the Phenomenology’
  • 4.45 Debrief
  • 5.00 Close and drinks

Certainty, Belief and Knowledge in the 18th Century Masterclass

The Alchemist Discovering Phosphorus

Joseph Wright, English, 1771, Oil on canvas, 500 x 418 in. 1883-152

Friday 15 July 2016
Muniment Room (S401)
Level 4, Lobby B (Southern Vestibule)
The University of Sydney

Dario Perinetti (University of Quebec in Montreal) and Anik Waldow (Sydney)

In the early-modern period, questions about knowledge were raised in the midst of a deep social, political and intellectual transformation in Europe. The religious crisis, the consolidation of experimental science, the birth of incipient forms of social science, the unfolding of the new idea of the moral and political autonomy of human agents and communities provide a particular backdrop against which time-honored questions about knowledge could be rehearsed. The immediate effect of the profound transformation and crisis described above is the unsettling experience that many beliefs that had been taken for granted became, all of a sudden, objects of puzzlement, skeptical suspicion, overt criticism and controversy. No wonder, then, that we find the problem of certainty at the center of the philosophical stage.

It is notoriously difficult, however, to get clear on what "certainty" meant for early-modern philosophers. For they often appeal to subtle distinctions of kinds and degrees of certainty that they take as common knowledge but which are obscure for a contemporary reader. We shall be concerned with the particular ways early-modern philosophers understood the notion of certainty by focusing on three pivotal questions. First, do different areas of inquiry-metaphysics, mathematics, natural science and moral philosophy-have different kinds of certainty as their satisfaction condition? Second, can different kinds of certainty be equally certain or the distinction in kind imply too a distinction in degree? Finally, what are the metaphysical assumptions underlying the distinction between kinds of certainty?

We will also see that this layered understanding of what are the satisfaction conditions for different kinds of knowledge generates interesting problems. The conflicts between the different kinds of certainty are pervasive in early-modern debates about the respective titles of revelation, sense perception, intuition, testimony, demonstration and philosophical speculation in advancing claims to knowledge. At the same time, these conflicts reveal the reciprocal dependence of epistemology and more general conceptions of the natural and the human worlds such as we find in theology, in natural philosophy, in metaphysics and in morals.

Participation Requirement:
The class will be discussion focused, with presentation elements and group work tasks. It is specifically designed for Honours and Postgraduate students, although Undergraduate students who specialise in related areas are also welcome. In order to be able to successfully participate, please study the readings below and send us one question about each one of them by 13th July.

Please prepare the class with the following readings:
Daston, Lorraine (1998). "Probability and Evidence", in Daniel Garber & Michael Ayers (eds) The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 1108-1144.

Perinetti, Dario (2014). "Ways to Certainty", in Aaron Garrett (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Eighteenth Century Philosophy. Routledge Philosophy Companions. London: Routledge, p. 265-93.

Serjeantson, R.W. (2006). "Proof and Persuasion", in Lorraine Daston and Katherine Park (eds), The Cambridge History of Early Modern Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), p. 132–75.

Shapiro, Barbara (2002). "Testimony in seventeenth-century English natural philosophy: legal origins and early development", Studies in the History and the Philosophy of Science, 33(2): 243-263.