Working Group IV: Borders and the Transfer of Knowledge


Transfer is a cornerstone of the knowledge society: the exchange of learning, news, expertise, innovations has become a key to progress and reputation. Transfer crosses borders between places and cultures and at the same time creates borders between those in the know and those excluded. Borders in the early modern period were not the national, economic, and societal of today. The members of this working group investigate various instances of the dynamics of knowledge transfer and the interactions between different societal and cultural domains. They are particularly interested in the rules and regulations that emerged in the interactions between actors and institutions to facilitate transfers and demarcate membership.



Fokko Jan Dijksterhuis
University of Twente

Fokko Jan Dijksterhuis is Associate Professor of History of Science at the Centre for Studies of Science and Technology. He studied applied mathematics and science studies and has worked as a teacher of mathematics and social science at secondary level. In 1999 he finished his dissertation on the history of optics in the seventeenth century, focusing on the work of Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695): Lenses and Waves. Christiaan Huygens and the Mathematical Science of Optics in the Seventeenth Century (Kluwer 2004). The research interests of Fokko Jan Dijksterhuis focus upon the cultural history of early modern science and technology and the way spatial and cultural interactions give shape to knowledge practices. He is particularly interested in the North-European cross-boundary knowledge sphere and the interactions between various socio-cultural groups like scientists, technologists, entrepreneurs, artists.

Dirk van Miert
Descartes Centre

Dirk van Miert is a research fellow in Paul Ziche’s project ‘Thinking Classified. Structuring the World of Ideas around 1800’, which is financed by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). Van Miert studies the way in which in the 18th c. the historiography of knowledge, and in particular the history of philosophy, took shape. Van Miert  is editor in chief of Lias. Journal of Early Modern Intellectual Culture and its Sources, president of the Dutch Network of Neolatin Studies, and chair of the Amsterdam-based research group Republic of Letters, 1350-2000.

harro-maas.jpgHarro Maas
University of Lausanne

Harro Maas is Professor of History of Economics at the Institute for Political, Historical and International Studies at the University of Lausanne. One of his latest publications is titled The Making of Experimental Economics: A Witness Seminar on the Emergence of a Field (Springer, 2016). This book is the transcript of a witness seminar on the history of experimental economics, in which eleven high-profile experimental economists participated, including Nobel Laureates Vernon Smith, Reinhard Selten and Alvin Roth.

Djoekfoto 2e van Netten
University of Amsterdam

Djoeke van Netten is Assistant Professor Early Modern History at the University of Amsterdam. Her research is on the crossroads of book history, history of knowledge, cartography and maritime history. She wrote her PhD-thesis (Koopman in kennis; University of Groningen 2012) about the role of seventeenth-century publishers in the presentation and dissemination of science. In 2015 she started a new research project, titled ‘Hide and Leak. Secrecy and Openness in Overseas Companies in the Dutch Golden Age’ with a Veni-grant of the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).

Thomas_Werner bisWerner Thomas
University of Leuven

Werner Thomas (1966) is Associate Professor of Iberian and Iberoamerican history at the University of Leuven. He has published on the repression of Protestantism in Spain (1517-1648), the Habsburg court of the Archdukes Albert and Isabella Clara Eugenia in Brussels (1598-1621), the Siege of Ostend (1601-1604), and the political and cultural relations between the (Southern) Netherlands and the Spanish empire (1500-1700). His current research projects include the contribution of Flemish prints and engravings to the construction of the Spanish empire in America, focussing on New Spain, Peru, and New Granada (1520-1800), the Southern Netherlands as a centre of accumulation and translation within the Spanish monarchy (1520-1700), and the role of Hispano-Flemish elites and mixed identities in the continuation of Flemish loyalty to the House of Habsburg (1659-1708).

Irene van Renswoude
Huygens ING Institute

Irene van Renswoude is a postdoctoral researcher at the Huygens ING Institute in The Hague. In addition, she is affiliated researcher at the Research Institute for History and Art History. Her current research project focusses on censorship and debate in late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages.

d200x250Michiel van Groesen
Leiden University

Michiel van Groesen is Professor of Maritime History at Leiden University. His interest in maritime history is embedded in the culture of the Dutch Golden Age and the Atlantic world. Broadly speaking his research is interdisciplinary in nature, focusing on the culture of imperial expansion and the politics of global interactions. His current NWO-Vidi project ‘Covering the Ocean’ explores the circulation of transatlantic news in the early modern Low Countries – north and south – by means of an analysis of early printed newspapers and related media (c. 1580-1820).