Mapping the Journey

Conference in Corfu… and a trip to Greece

I have been invited to give a talk to an intriguing conference in a most beautiful place: Corfu, Greece. This has given me the special opportunity to get in touch with Greek colleagues and be enriched by their perspectives on ancient and medieval science and one feature in particular: how rhetoric impacted on the scientific discourse. The organisers, Kostas Stefou and Athanasios Efstathiou, have been the perfect hosts. I have indulged in the many culinary, artistic, and historical pleasures of this unique island. And something more…

Indeed, if you have to go to Greece, well, why not staying a bit longer and go looking for Aristotle? That’s what I thought. So, I flew from Berlin to Thessaloniki and went to Stagira. Then, having to go to Corfu from Thessaloniki, the Meteora were so close that it would have been a pity not to visit them. In the end, it has been a splendid Aristotelian trip that I shall never forget!

Mapping the Journey

Back to Durham

I have been invited to give a lecture on medieval theories of prime matter at Durham University. It has been so good to go back to the North East for this fantastic occasion to discuss many intricate points of premodern epistemology of matter! And see again my friends and the many beauties of the best region of England (sorry, London and the South, but that’s absolutely true).

Worth Mentioning This

La Fisica di Aristotele nel Medioevo

What’s better than a symposium on Aristotle’s Physics in the Middle Ages? Well, that it will take place in Rome! And I will give a talk there, finally going back to the Eternal City. Jokes aside, this symposium organised by gorgeous Cecilia Panti is going to be uniquely amazing. (And what a fantastic poster!)

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Mapping the Journey

All good things…

The reading group on Calcidius and Ibn Gabirol is coming to an end—our last meeting is going to be on Feb 15th. We had some great fun trying to understand many intricate doctrinal points on ontology and cosmology. It has been wild. But also incredibly pleasurable. My most sincere gratitude goes to all the brave participants, each one of whom has added very valuable insights and interpretative perspectives.

Here’s a photo from the last session of the reading group.

Looking forward to seeing you all next semester, with a new reading group on an equally peculiar medieval thinker: Roger Bacon.

Mapping the Journey, Outreach

Uncovering Matter

My friend Rosie Reed Gold visited me this weekend. It has been a special visit. Rosie is a fantastic artist based in London (you can find here some of her impressive creations and here some of the amazing photos she takes). We met in Oxford last year and since the very beginning we knew that there was something fast growing from our conversations on philosophy, art, and medieval science. A strange idea. A collaboration was looming. And it is a very special collaboration, I would say.

Rosie and I exploring new exhibits at the Berlinische Galerie
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Career Updates, Research and Activities

Output Report 2018

The annual output report for 2018 is ready. What a year! I have to say that I am quite happy with my report. And my move to Berlin will definitely be a game changer for so many things… Let’s see what 2019 will bring about.

PUBLICATIONS

Vedere nell’ombra. Studi su natura, spiritualità e scienze operative offerti a Michela Pereira.

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Mapping the Journey

AvH Network Meeting in Bonn

I just came back from the very first event organised by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation I participated in. Three days of meetings, discussions, brain-storming, and good time shared with so many colleagues from all over the world, all together in Bonn. That was fantastic! It just feels so good to be part of a network so huge and diverse, made of so many brilliant minds and sponsored by such a generous institution. Can’t wait to attend the next one!

With Houda and Mattia, enjoying the poster session and a “good” cup of coffee.
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Career Updates, Mapping the Journey

From Durham to Berlin

After two years, it’s time for me to leave lovely Durham and move to the big city, Berlin. This is going to change so many things. I feel proud and honoured to become a Humboldtian and am so grateful for this opportunity. I have just started my German course at the Goethe Institute and, so far, it’s quite weird to be back to the other side of the desk. Can’t wait for the proper thing (i.e., my new job) to start in a few weeks. But I am also having much fun with my fellow Humboldtians at school – all together in this linguistic and cultural adventure. Wish me good luck, or better, viel Glück!

Mapping the Journey, Research and Activities

Vedere nell’ombra

Il primo di giugno abbiamo presentato presso la SISMEL di Firenze il volume Vedere nell’ombra. Studi su natura, spiritualità e scienze operative offerti a Michela Pereira. Dopo mesi di pianificazione, siamo riusciti a mantenere il ‘segreto’ e fare una bella sorpresa a Michela, che non si aspettava nulla. Una festa con amici e colleghi e un gran momento per ritrovarsi insieme e festeggiare una persona che ha dato così tanto a tutti noi.

A seguire, alcuni scatti presi durante il pomeriggio fiorentino.

Mapping the Journey

From Montreal to Kalamazoo and Chicago

Montreal was fantastic. However, the spectre of Kalamazoo was looming. Kalamazoo was not a problem, it was the 14-hour-long drive from Montreal! A group of seven people from Durham (well, actually six, as there still was the lovely intruder from Oxford, but it was like as she was from Durham) locked into a car, even if a good one, for such a long time and without smoking? It’s not a joke: it happened! And I can proudly say that I survived it! Maybe, for the sake of this blog, I should say that it was a great fun and we had an amazing time while we were trapped in there. It would be a lie: it was so boring, notwithstanding many attempts at having fun. We made it to Kalamazoo, though, and that’s what’s important.

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Mapping the Journey

Charming Montreal (May 2018)

One of the best things of this line of work is the oneiric dimension of travel. It is not the travel in itself to be oneiric—even though, when one travels to the US or Canada, there’s always a sleepy state that goes on for days: nothing poetic, though, just jet-lag. The oneiric dimension happens when you fly away to attend a conference or a meeting and, suddenly, you are in a completely different academic environment.  There, for just a few days, you can dream of living a different life working at a different university. From this point of view, America is unparalleled and the Ordered Universe project a sort of “Traumfabrik”! It was the OU that marked May 2018 with a long trip to Montreal and Kalamazoo, and a Chicago-ending.

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Multimedia

Nicholas of Cusa and Gundissalinus (video)

International Conference: East-Western Transmission of Knowledge. An International Colloquium on Methods of Research, International Colloquium Convened by Forschungsstelle Philosophie- und Wissenschaftsgeschichte der griechisch-arabisch-lateinischen Tradition (Universität Würzburg) and Cordoba Near Eastern Research Unit (University of Córdoba), Cordoba, 3 April 2018.

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Mapping the Journey

Back from Pamplona

I’ve just come back from a brilliant workshop in Pamplona! After months collaborating together on our project , the members of the research group ‘Hermenéutica patrística y medieval (LOGOS)’ (based at the Instituto de Estudios Medievales of the University of Navarra) finally met! What can I say? It’s been a marvellous day of study led by María Jesús Soto-Bruna: so many interesting talks, new tempting ideas, projects, collaborations… Just brilliant! So many good people there, can’t wait to the next meeting (and go back to Pamplona, hopefully!).

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Mapping the Journey

Boston, Toronto… and Texas

Another research trip to America. Such a long trip (more than three weeks!) would require, perhaps, a long and detailed report. Luckily for you, though, I really don’t have time to do so, and I’ll limit myself to some quick notes on a superb dissemination-and-research trip.

First destination: Boston. My very good friend, Katja Krause, had organised an outstanding workshop at Harvard on a fascinating theme: science and religion. It was my first time in Massachusetts, and it has been such a splendid experience. Boston is incredibly European: so much history, everything is clean-and-polished, public transportation is perfect, no Walmart on sight (with my profound disappointment). It was like not being in America at all! The workshop went marvellously well (and how could have not been so, with such a brilliant host, Katja): different perspectives and approaches (theology, history of science, philosophy) on a delicate matter such as the relation between religion and scientific knowledge from the Late Antiquity to the Early Modernity. From Byzantine alchemy to Galileo’s astronomical observations, passing through the Arabic and Latin traditions, the workshop has been incredibly interesting, opening new lines (and collaborations) to be carefully explored.

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Research and Activities

Roger Bacon @HSS Toronto

Roger Bacon: The Philosopher's Workshop

History of Science Society
2017 Meeting

Toronto, Canada, 9-12 November 2017

Two talks on Roger Bacon:

Elly Truitt (Bryn Mawr College), “Roger Bacon’s Speculative Technologies”. Panel: Thinking with Preindustrial Machines, 13.30, Friday, 10 November 2017.

Nicola Polloni (Durham University), “Sciences of Matter? Knowledge of the Material Substrate in the Two Bacons”. Panel: Pre-Modern Experiences and the Limits of Science, 9.00, Saturday, 11 November 2017.

https://hssonline.org/meetings/2017-hss-annual-meeting/

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Research and Activities

SMRP Sponsored Session at the ACPA

SMRP

SMRP sponsored session at the American Catholic Philosophical Association

Friday, November 17, 2017, 10a.m.-12 noon

The Westin Dallas Downtown

Causation and Science in Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy

Organizer & Chair: Gloria Frost, University of St. Thomas, MN

Speaker 1: David Cory, The Catholic University of America; Notre Dame

“Is Digestion Fully Material? Aquinas on Matter and the Vegetal Soul”

Speaker 2: Zita Toth, Conception Seminary College, MO

“Durand of St.-Pourçain on Causal Interactions after the Day of Judgment”

Speaker 3:Nicola Polloni, Durham University

“Accordance and Strife: Encounters with Modernity at the Beginning of the Thirteenth Century”

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Mapping the Journey

Translating Experience

It has been fantastic – just perfect!

The conference Translating Experience: Medieval Encounters with Nature, Self, and God that Katja Krause and I have organised went perfectly well. You can see both programme and videos here. In this post, I limit myself to including some photos of the two splendid days we have spent in Durham with so many brilliant minds, discussing of medieval philosophy and science.

Also the Facebook streaming went very well and allowed a lot of people to participate from all over the world, asking questions and interacting with the convenors in a stimulating way. This is the future – an equitable, more open and accessible future for academia!

Research and Activities

Translating Experience (conference in Durham)

What is the role of experience in medieval encounters with nature, self, and God? The Aristotelian sciences, such as astronomy and meteorology, zoology and botany, as well as other medieval disciplines such as medicine, alchemy, and magic drew on experience in different ways and to different degrees. Their applications range from singular references to experience in different arguments to collected works of experience, such as the medical literary genre of the Experimenta that focuses on medical remedies. Yet the same concepts—tajriba, nissayon, experientia / experimentum—are also used in the encounter with the self; more specifically in the realms of epistemological inquiry, internal reflection on experience of the natural world, or the question of conscience. A third prominent area where experience plays a central role in medieval discourses is encounters with the divine through rapture, prophecy, the practice of magic and necromancy—discourses in which the concept of experience finds its very limits.

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Multimedia

Theoretical Enthusiasm and Doctrinal Condemnation (video)

The fifth and final video-lecture of the research seminar The Penetration of Arabic Philosophy into the Latin Philosophical Tradition (1162-1215) is online [GO to the seminar webpage]. The seminar is organised by the Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’ International Working Group (AAIWG).

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Mapping the Journey

Georgetown

My first time at Georgetown University has been quite remarkable – what a fantastic campus! I have attended a conference organised by Neil Lewis: “Aspectus and Affectus: Robert Grosseteste, Understanding and Feeling.” The conference has been amazing. And DC was as charming as always… definitely, one of my favorite cities in the US, with Chicago. And I have been honoured to guide Cecilia through monuments, museums, and cherry trees!

Multimedia

Attempting an Epistemological Revolution (video)

The fourth video-lecture of the research seminar The Penetration of Arabic Philosophy into the Latin Philosophical Tradition (1162-1215) is online [GO to the seminar webpage]. The seminar, organised by the Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’ International Working Group (AAIWG) is composed of five video-lectures that will be uploaded on the dedicated Youtube channel during the next weeks.

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Multimedia

Gundissalinus’s Psychological Reflection (video)

The third video-lecture of the research seminar The Penetration of Arabic Philosophy into the Latin Philosophical Tradition (1162-1215) is online [GO to the seminar webpage]. The seminar, organised by the Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’ International Working Group (AAIWG) is composed of four video-lectures that will be uploaded on the dedicated Youtube channel during the next weeks.

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Multimedia

Gundissalinus’s Metaphysics and Cosmology (video)

The second video-lecture of the research seminar The Penetration of Arabic Philosophy into the Latin Philosophical Tradition (1162-1215) is online [GO to the seminar webpage]. The seminar, organised by the Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’ International Working Group (AAIWG) is composed of four video-lectures that will be uploaded on the dedicated Youtube channel during the next weeks.

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Multimedia

The Toledan Translation Movement (video)

The first video-lecture of the research seminar The Penetration of Arabic Philosophy into the Latin Philosophical Tradition (1162-1215) is online [GO to the seminar webpage]. The seminar, organised by the Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’ International Working Group (AAIWG) is composed of four video-lectures that will be uploaded on the dedicated Youtube channel during the next weeks.

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