22 February 2019 from 09:00 to 17:00

Workshop 'Sex and Science in Early Modern Europe'

La Primavera van Sandro Botticelli, Uffizi-museum Florence. Bron: Wikimedia
La Primavera by Sandro Botticelli, Uffizi-museum Florence. Source: Wikimedia

On Friday 22 February Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam organises a workshop on 'Sex and Science in Early Modern Europe'. Dr Karen Hollewand (Cultural History) will provide a lecture on Sex and Science in the Early Modern Dutch Republic. 

Sex is a relatively recent invention. Reproduction is intrinsic in human beings, yet sex and sexuality are conceptual constructions of later ages. In the early modern period physicians, anatomists, philosophers and literary authors became fascinated by human desire and sexual behavior. Diving into classical texts, humanists collected ancient knowledge about love and lust. Pornographers catalogued sexual variations to arouse desire. The scientific revolution and early enlightenment encouraged innovative experiments and new theories on desire and reproduction.


CLUE+ and ACCESS (Amsterdam Center for Cross-disciplinary Emotion and Sensory Studies) invite you to a one-day workshop on Sex and Science in Early Modern Europe. How did scholars define sex and envision its place in our bodies and minds? What knowledge techniques did they employ to gather information about sexual acts and the reproductive system? An international, interdisciplinary panel of speakers will explore these topics and debate the agenda for further research on the history of sexuality in early modern Europe.


9.00 - 9.30 Registration & Coffee

9.30 - 11.00 Karen Hollewand (Utrecht University) - Opening Lecture 
Sex and Science in the Early Modern Dutch Republic

11.00 - 11.30 Coffee/tea

11.30 - 13.00 

  • Clorinda Donato (California State University) - Writing Desire, Lust, and Science in Eighteenth-Century Italy: Giovanni Bianchi’s Brief History of Caterina Vizzani, 1744
  • Sarah Toulalan (University of Exeter) – Child Rape and Sexual Knowledge

13.00 - 14.00 Lunch

14.00 - 15.30 

  • Ruben Verwaal (University of Groningen) – Seminal Knowledge: Materiality of Semen in the Eighteenth Century
  • Darren Wagner (University of Berlin) – When Sex became Electric: Experiment and Representation in the Eighteenth Century

15.30 - 16.00 Coffee/tea

16.00 - 17.00 Inger Leemans (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) – Discussion and conclusion

17.00 Drinks 

Start date and time
22 February 2019 09:00
End date and time
22 February 2019 17:00
Entrance fee
Free entrance