Working group II: Boundary Objects


This working group focuses on objects as the smallest units of analysis in the exploration of what constituted knowledge in the Early Modern period. Artefacts functioned as agents in, and repositories of, the exchange of different kinds of practical, theoretical, and cultural knowledge. We are particularly interested in objects that marked fault lines, transitions, innovation, conflict, and failure of communication within the larger context of ‘trading zones’, where defenders of different ways of knowing came to acquire new literacies (material, visual, textual, cultural, and technological). A qualitative analysis of these interactions ideally involves a range of objects from household goods to works of applied art, paintings, prints, model books, dictionaries, translations, art cabinets, apothecary’s cabinets, and scientific instruments. We envisage reconstructing the historical vocabulary that makers, consumers, and publics used to describe and understand boundary objects.





Thijs Weststeijn
University of Utrecht

Thijs Weststeijn is Professor of Art History before 1850 at Utrecht University. He specializes in seventeenth-century Dutch art in a global context. He chairs the research project ‘The Chinese Impact’ (funded by The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research), which explores the mutual perceptions of China and the Low Countries. In 2015 he published Art and Antiquity in the Netherlands and Britain: The Vernacular Arcadia of Franciscus Junius (1591-1677), a study of the revival of classical antiquity in the countries around the North Sea.

Marika Keblusek
University of Leiden

Marika Keblusek is lecturer at the university of Leiden. Her research interests include the history of (early modern) collecting; agency and networking in early modern Europe; art markets; forgers & thiefs – the history of art crime; history of private libraries; cultural history of early modern courts.

prof. dr. A.S. (Ann-Sophie) LehmannAnn-Sophie Lehmann
University of Groningen

Ann-Sophie Lehmann is Professor of Art History at the University of Groningen. Her research investigates how materials, tools, and practices partake in the meaning making of art; how images and texts represent and reflect creative practices; and how knowledge about making engenders material literacy. Her research is diachronic and ranges from oil paint and clay to aniline dyes and software.

Tine Luk Meganckaaeaaqaaaaaaaakoaaaajdgzmdrjzgiwltzhodktngi4zc05odrjlwu2zmi0mzm3ztdhmq
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels

Tine Luk Meganck (PhD Art and Archaeology, Princeton University, 2003) is a researcher at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels funded by the Interuniversity Attraction Pool City and Society of the Belgian Science Policy. Her book Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Fall of the Rebel Angels. Art, Knowledge and Politics on the Eve of the Dutch Revolt was published by Silvana Editoriale and the RMFAB in 2014. Other themes of interest are art, antiquity and ethnography in the network of Abraham Ortelius and occult and alchemical notions in the art theoretical writings of Pieter Paul Rubens.

Maarten Prak
Utrecht University

Maarten Prak is Professor of Social and Economic History at the Department of History and Art History. His research concentrates on the lives of the inhabitants of European – and especially Dutch – towns during the Middle Ages and Early Modern period. Major topics in his research are: citizenship, institutions, cultural industries, guilds and human capital.

Jaya Remond
Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

Jaya Remond received her PhD in 2014 from the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. Her research interests focus on Northern European art 1400 -1700, artistic theory and practice in the early modern period, print culture, and the migration of artists and objects.

Els Stronks
Descartes Centre

Els Stronks is Professor of Early Modern Dutch Literature and Culture at Utrecht University. She currently leads the Emblem Project Utrecht (EPU) and the Pia Desideria Project, which aim to digitize and analyze Dutch love emblem books, religious as well as secular, published between 1601 and 1724. She is also a member of the Dutch Songs On Line project.

Huib Zuidervaartimages
Huygens ING Institute

Zuidervaart studied Physics, Astro-physics and History of the Natural Sciences at the VU University in Amsterdam. He wrote his PhD at the University of Utrecht titled Van ‘Konstgenoten’ en Hemelse Fenomenen. Nederlandse STerrekunde in de Achttiende Eeuw. He has held numerous positions at universities and museums in the netherlands, and is now working as a senior researcher for the Huygens ING Institute.

Joyce van Leeuwen
Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

Joyce van Leeuwen is currently working on a book on the Latin translation of the Aristotelian Mechanics with commentary by the Italian humanist Niccolò Leonico Tomeo (Quaestiones Mechanicae, 1525), which will be published in the framework of the Edition Open Sources book series of the MPIWG. She is especially interested in the diagrams and images in Tomeoʼs translation of the Mechanics, as the varying diagrammatic practices shed light on the context of the mechanical discipline in the sixteenth century.

Matteo Vallerianivalleriani_0
Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

Matteo Valleriani’s research focuses on the history of mechanics from classical antiquity to late Renaissance. In particular, his research intends to determine the role of the relations between practical knowledge and technology on the one side, and theoretical knowledge on the other side, within the framework of the processes of emergence of new theoretical knowledge.


International fellows