Architectures of Knowledge: Objects and Inventories in the Pre-modern World

Thursday, 15 May 2014

11.15 - 19.00 (with registration from 10.45), Research Forum South Room

Figures praying, some kneeling
Detail of the tympanum of the Duomo of San Giovanni, Monza, fourteenth century.  © Stefania Gerevini

Speaker(s): Charles Burnett (Warburg Institute), Susie Nash (The Courtauld Institute of Art), Donal Cooper (University of Cambridge), Philippe Cordez (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich), Stefania Gerevini (The Courtauld Institute of Art), Valentina Izmirlieva (Columbia University), Tom Nickson (The Courtauld Institute of Art), Judith Pfeiffer (University of Oxford), Giacomo Todeschini (University of Trieste)

Ticket/entry details: £10 (£5 students, Courtauld staff/students, concessions). BOOK ONLINE... This event is now sold out, however there may be limited space on the day on a first come, first served basis (cash payment only).

Organised by: Dr Stefania Gerevini and Tom Nickson (The Courtauld Institute of Art). Funded by The Courtauld’s Research Forum and the Economic History Society

The technological transformations brought about by the Internet have given unprecedented political, social and economic relevance to questions of management, transmission and organisation of knowledge. They have focused public attention on the importance of the correct and secure preservation of information, and on the imperative for efficient measures against misuse. These have become matters of great concern for public bodies and for the civic and political community at large. But are these concerns entirely new?

This interdisciplinary workshop examines a particular (and particularly widespread) form of organisation and preservation of knowledge in the pre-modern Mediterranean: inventories. Looking beyond the function of medieval inventories as lists of objects, our workshop will explore their historical, legal and epistemological complexity in the Christian and Islamic Mediterranean. Our speakers will reflect upon the different textual and visual formats of medieval inventories, their physical appearance and organisation, and the different ways in which they referred to and provided information about objects and collections. What were the legal, economic and social functions of inventories, and what connections can be traced between practices of inventory-making and broader epistemological developments in the later Middle Ages? Ultimately, this workshop aims to explore the ways in which inventories contributed to produce, organise and transmit knowledge, and the ways in which they operated (together with the objects that they recorded) to maintain or undermine social, religious and political order.

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pdf icon Abstracts

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