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The Architecture of Science and the Humanities
15 May. - 16 May. 2019
NIAS, Sint Jorishof
Korte Spinhuissteeg
Conference room

The Architecture of Science and the Humanities


Fabian Krämer, current EURIAS fellow at NIAS and Associate fellow at the Vossius Center, convenes a workshop on "The Architecture of Science and the Humanities". This workshop is organized in cooperation with the Vossius Center for the History of Humanities and Sciences at the University of Amsterdam.

Please note that day 2 of the workshop (16th of May) is fully booked.

Aim of workshop

Few historians of science dispute that the histories of universities and academies, museums for natural history, or larger research consortia such as the Max Planck Society are important for our understanding of science. And yet the older history of science often did not have much use for it. The current interest in the “material culture” of science offers a fresh opportunity to revisit institutional history and bring it to bear on the history of science and the humanities in new ways. The workshop brings communities together that rarely speak: historians of science and the humanities, historians of universities and natural history museums, and historians of architecture. It asks how the architecture of these institutions, and the spaces and geographies that resulted from it, influenced teaching and research practices. What role did they play for the formation of disciplines as well as the very identities of the scientist and the humanities scholar?


May 15, 2019

13:00-13:30: Arrival & Finger Food

13:30-13:45: Welcome & Introduction by Jan Willem Duyvendak (Director NIAS) and Fabian Krämer (NIAS / Vossius Center / LMU Munich)


Universities I

Chair: Josephine Musil-Gutsch (Vossius Center / LMU Munich)

13:45-14:15: Fabian Krämer (NIAS / Vossius Center / LMU Munich): How German Universities Became Spaces

14:15-14:45: Klaas van Berkel (University of Groningen), Island Nations in the Making. The New Laboratories and the Fragmentation of Dutch Universities around 1900

14:45-15:30: Commentary (Sjang ten Hagen, University of Amsterdam) and Discussion


15:30-16:00: Coffee Break


Universities II

Chair: Niki Vermeulen (Leiden University / University of Edinburgh)

16:00-16:30   Jorrit Smit (Leiden University), Science Parks as Utility Spots: Knowledge Transfer & the Architecture of Universities

16:30-17:00   Ab Flipse (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam as a Campus University: ‘Cité Universitaire’ between Dream and Reality

17:00-17:45   Commentary (Antonio Donato, NIAS / Queens College, CUNY) and Discussion

17:45-19:15    Jennifer Tosch, Katy Streek and Jasper Albinus, Presentation & Walking tour ‘Sites of memory’  (See more information below)


19:15              Conference Dinner


May 16, 2019

Natural History Museums

Chair: Philip Jones (NIAS / University of Adelaide)

09:00-09:30   Jutta Helbig (Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin), Museum für Naturkunde Berlin: How Space Affects Scientific Progress in Natural History Collections

09:30-10:00   Stefanie Jovanovic-Kruspel (Naturhistorisches MuseumWien), The Natural History Museum Vienna: A “Gesamtkunstwerk”

10:00-10:45   Commentary (Geert Somsen, Maastricht University) and Discussion


10:45-11:15   Coffee Break



Chair: Anita Hermannstädter (Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin)

11:15-11:45   Reinhold Martin (Columbia University), Sources: On Plants and Pamphlets around 1900

11:45-12:15   Petra Brouwer (University of Amsterdam), ‘Book Contstructors’: Architectural History Writing in the 19th Century

12:15-13:00   Commentary (Jorrit Smit, Leiden University) and Discussion


13:00-14:00   Lunch


14:00-15:00   Final Discussion and Farewell


Background Sites of Memory – Emerging Memory

Jennifer Tosch and Katy Streek will facilitate a presentation & walking tour, which gives the participants an insight in their project Sites of Memory. Sites of Memory a theatrical boat trip about the colonial and slavery history of Amsterdam. Spoken word artists, dancers and visual artists work together bringing history to live with narratives and performances on board of the boat and on shore. The performance is a mix of past and presence, of what we know and would rather forget. The performance will take place in Amsterdam between the 20th of June and 7th of July.


During the 1,5 hours presentation & walking tour Tosch and Streek will introduce the performance project and how historical research, art and performance work together. We look at the traces of our colonial heritage and the role it plays in the present. How it affects our sense of space and identity. How artists give a contemporary look and response to the narratives and architecture of the historical buildings in Amsterdam and share it through performance with our audiences.


Please register by sending an email to Workshops@nias.knaw.nl

Please note that day 2 of the workshop (16th of May) is fully booked.