The Intrinsic Place. Space as a Measurable Entity in Early Modern Art and Science

Starting with Descartes’ definition of space as “intrinsic” or “internal place,” the masterclass will focus on the development of linear perspective in the context of those practical sciences strongly related with the concept of measure, namely, surveying and cartography. Theory and practice of architecture will also be discussed as a basic training for any skilled master of perspective. A special insight will be devoted to Piero della Francesca’s drawings (space as a visual entity) in relation to the geometrical art of stonemasons (space as a physical entity).



May 30, 2018

10.30am–1pm | MPIWG, Main Conference Room
Filippo Camerota (Museo Galileo, Florence): “The Intrinsic Place. Space as a Measurable Entity in Early Modern Art and Science”
Introduction by Matteo Valleriani (MPIWG)

Closed Seminar (registration required)
2pm–4.30pm | MPIWG Villa, Room V005


For further information and registration please contact Angela Axworthy (aaxworthy [at] mpiwg-berlin [dot] mpg [dot] de) or Elizabeth Merrill (emerrill [at] mpiwg-berlin [dot] mpg [dot] de).

Knowledge in Translation

When knowledge is transferred across lingual and cultural boundaries, this often involves moving from textual to visual or material representation, and passing through institutional frameworks. These transitions modify the functionality of translated knowledge and affect the patterns of epistemic normativity. Our series of masterclasses, supported by the Berlin Centre for the History of Knowledge and organized at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in June-July 2018, explored the translation of knowledge across lingual and cultural domains, including movements between media and institutions, and focused on how translation participates in negotiating epistemic norms espoused by specific communities. By examining the negotiations surrounding translation-related normativity, we aimed to clarify how the routines of translation help fine-tune the functionality of knowledge in transfer. We outlined a longue durée trajectory in the history of translation to facilitate a discussion on its systematic issues, and zoomed in on themes overcoming Eurocentric tendencies in translation history. Our conversations with distinguished scholars leading the masterclasses—Christine Proust (CNRS, Paris), Michael Gordin (Princeton University), Joachim Kurtz (Heidelberg University), and Dagmar Schäfer (MPIWG) have provided insights and expertise for collaboration on an edited volume.


Knowledge Translation in Ancient Mesopotamia

Christine Proust (CNRS, Paris)

June 4, 2018 | MPIWG, Main Conference Room
2–3.45pm Lecture: “From Clay to Modern Editions: the Metamorphoses of Numbers”
4.15–6pm Panel Discussion with Matteo Valleriani (MPIWG) and Tim Gardom, working as part of the Haley Sharpe Design team

June 5, 2018 | MPIWG, Room 215
11am-3pm Masterclass: “Tensions between Variability of Ancient Texts and Normativity of Databases: Case Studies”*


Translation in Late Imperial China

Joachim Kurtz (Heidelberg University)

June 20, 2018 | MPIWG, Main Conference Room
2–3.45pm Lecture: “Of Lexical Shells and Textual Monstrosities: Tales of Translation in Late Imperial China”
4.15–6pm Panel Discussion with Dagmar Schäfer and Florence Hsia (MPIWG)
June 21, 2018 | MPIWG, Room 215
11am-3pm Masterclass: “Chasing Science on the Move: Translation, Domestication, Transformation”*


Translation in Modern Eastern Europe

Michael Gordin (Princeton University)

July 5, 2018 | HU Berlin, Main Building, Room 2249a “Marmorsaal”
2–3.45pm Lecture: “Machine Translation Before and After the Iron Curtain”
4.15–6pm Panel Discussion with Charu Singh (University of Cambridge)
July 6, 2018 | MPIWG Villa, Room 005
11am-3pm Masterclass “Science in a ‘Minor Language’”*


Organized by Maria Avxentevskaya, Minakshi Menon, Robert Middeke-Conlin, Ion Mihailescu, and Dror Weil.


* Preregistration is required. Please email us at:
translation_masterclass [at] mpiwg-berlin [dot] mpg [dot] de


In May and June 2018, the postocs of the Berlin Center organize a lecture and seminar series on the history of knowledge. For further information about the postdoc program or the lecture series, please contact Dr. Hansjakob Ziemer (hjziemer [at] mpiwg-berlin [dot] mpg [dot] de).