26 July 2019 from 17:45 to 20:15

Elizabeth Paris Public Engagement Lecture

Lecture by Jeroen van Dongen: “In Europe”

“In Europe”

As the History of Science Society holds its annual meeting in Utrecht, one of the key academic centers on the European continent, one may surmise that the field has returned home. Yet, this hardly reflects how today’s world of scholarship is constituted: in the historiography of science, “provincializing Europe” has become an important theme, while the field itself, as is the case across the world of academia, is centered around a predominantly American literature. At the same time, ever since historians of science have emancipated themselves from the sciences a long time ago, they often have appeared, in the public eye, to question rather than to seek to bolster the authority of the sciences.

How has this situation come about, and what does it tell us about the world we live in today? What insight is sought and what public benefit is gained by the historical study of science? As we try to answer these questions, we will follow a number of key mid-twentieth century historians in their Atlantic crossings. Their answers to debates on the constitution of the early modern ‘scientific revolution’ or the novelty of the work of Albert Einstein will illustrate how notions of ‘center’ and ‘periphery’ have shifted—and what that may tell us about being ‘in Europe’ today.    

Jeroen van Dongen is Professor of History of Science at the University of Amsterdam. He studies black holes, Einstein, and themes that cut across science in its Cold war contexts and general questions of how to conduct historiography. He has taught and researched at Utrecht University, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, and the Einstein Papers Project at Caltech.


Performance Susanna Bloem: Composing Human Time
A History of Notions of Time in 20th Century Psychiatry

We struggle with time. Popular lines like: “do things in your own time”, “time heals all wounds”, “live in the here and now”, suggest that time is important to the way we live our lives in the 21st century. Simultaneously, such sayings have a history. Without knowledge of this past they turn into empty and meaningless clichés. History widens our perspective on what time does to us and, vice versa, what we do to time.

My PhD project aims to recover ideas about the experience and perception of time from the history of psychiatry, by means of both research and composition. In my view, there is no better way to start thinking about the meaning of time than via an experience of time through music. Music can make time concrete.

Tonight I will talk about, and play, my first musical composition, “Human Time”. It evokes an early twentieth-century psychiatric concept, “inner life history”. I invite you to listen to my rendering of  how music can express past notions of the mental forms time can take. It is my conviction that such experiences can inform questions about the relationship between time experience and a meaningful life.

Susanna Bloem is interested in how art can enrich scientific research and teaching and may thus contribute to keeping science humane. She graduated from the Descartes Centre in the history and philosophy of science and is currently preparing her PhD project in cooperation with the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, the Royal Conservatory of the Hague and the Descartes Centre at Utrecht University.



17:45        Doors open, drinks and snacks

18.55        Start program 

19:05        Performance by Susanna Bloem

19:25        Lecture by prof. dr. Jeroen van Dongen

20.15        End


Elizabeth Paris

Learn more about The Elizabeth Paris Endowment for Socially Engaged History and Philosophy of Science.


About the location

When you visit the Railway Museum you first enter the Maliebaanstation, built in 1874. This Utrecht station has been restored to its former glory.

Walking from the entrance to the expo room, you can have a drink and enjoy the most beautiful trains from Dutch railway history. From ancient steam engines with wooden carriages to advanced electric trains. You can have a closer look at some of the trains’ interior design.

Start date and time
26 July 2019 17:45
End date and time
26 July 2019 20:15