Descartes – Huygens Premodern History of Knowledge Colloquium

On 6 February the Descartes Centre will organise the Descartes – Huygens Premodern History of Knowledge Colloquium. The colloquium is centered around the theme 'Enlightened book cultures: digitizing, sharing and analyzing early modern big data. The ERC Consolidator Project MEDIATE and the open collaboration with the FBTEE'.


MEDIATE is an ERC-funded digital humanities project, based at Radboud University (The Netherlands), and supervised by Prof. Alicia Montoya. The project seeks to study the circulation of books and ideas in eighteenth-century Europe by drawing on a unique database of eighteenth-century library auction catalogues.

Scholars of intellectual history have long focused on a small number of canonical authors and conceptual frameworks in studying societal change during the Enlightenment. Historians of the book have, for their part, tended to privilege radical, subversive or forbidden texts. Yet ever since Daniel Mornet launched the history of the book approach a century ago, historians have recognized that it was authors who were not radical or subversive who produced the best-selling texts of the 18th century. This project aims to push Enlightenment studies in a new direction by moving beyond the present corpus of texts and models that dominate the field, and propose a new conceptual framework that takes as its starting-point the heuristic concept of middlebrow culture.

French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe

The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe (FBTEE) project is a digital humanities project of international significance mapping the production, marketing, dissemination, policing, and reception of books (and hence ideas) in the late eighteenth century. It aims to bring together and make interoperable and publicly available in a single digital resource multiple historical bibliometric databases.



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Sweelinckzaal (room 0.05), Drift 21, Utrecht