I studied Art History and Romance Languages in Heidelberg, Germany and continued my studies in Art History and Philosophy in the Netherlands (MA Art History, MA Philosophy, University of Amsterdam; PhD, Maastricht University, Dec 2012). In the summer 2016 I joined the ERC-funded ARTECHNE PROJECT at Utrecht University, where I currently work as a postdoctoral researcher.

Before I came to Utrecht, I worked at Columbia University as a postdoctoral Columbia-CHF scholar and Lecturer in History, and as a researcher and research policy advisor at different universities in the Netherlands and at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. My research focuses on hands-on experiences, practices, materiality, and aesthetics, combining philosophical, historical, and ethnographic research methods. I am currently finalising a research monograph entitled In Touch With Life: Investigating epistemic practices in the life sciences from a hands-on perspectived, which is forthcoming with Duke University Press. Central to my first book is the notion of "hands-on" with which I draw together an argument that threads between seventeenth-century natural philosophy and experimental practices (in particular the anatomical work by René Descartes), laboratory practices in the present-day life sciences, and contemporary artistic practices (Bio Art). The theoretical framework combines phenomenology, science & technology studies (STS), and historical epistemology to provide the reader with an original investigation into the historical context of Cartesian epistemology, subverting the traditional view of Descartes as a "thinker without hands" and instead placing hands-on experience and aesthetic reflection at the heart of modern epistemology.  

At Columbia University, I extended my research interests into the pre-modern period and the research field of embodied cognition. At Columbia's Center for Science & Society, I participated in Prof. Pamela Smith's The Making and Knowing Project, a collaboration between Columbia University and the Chemistry Heritage Foundation with partnerships in Germany, the Netherlands and other European Countries that will result in the critical online edition of a late sixteenth-century manuscript. The project focuses on the intersections between craft and science and investigates the epistemological significance of artisanal practices for the rise modern of experimental sciences. In the context of this project I worked with experimental reconstructions and ethnographic methods as a means to study material culture, artisanal practices and art technologies of the pre-modern period and the practice of reconstruction research in the Making & Knowing Laboratory.

What I like most about project my previous project and our current project is the complexity and diversity of the used research methods, combining hands-on research in the laboratory with object-based, and text-based historical research, and with digital humanities tools,  their inherently collaborative approach accross different disciplines. I am especially interested in methodological questions concerning the reconstruction of historical experience and embodied knowledge, close readings of recipes in their original language and translations, and in digital humanities tools and digital environments for international collaborations. At the ARTECHNE Project I will continue my research on these issues, studying artistic technique as codified in art technological how-to texts. My sub-project focuses on modern editions of early modern recipes, in particular on 19th-century editions and their making, which are still in use in today's conservation and research labs.  

Strategische thema's / focusgebieden
Wetenschappelijke expertises
History of art and science
Philosophy and ethnography of epistemic practices in arts and sciences
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Alle publicaties
  2016 - Wetenschappelijke publicaties
Bilak, Donna, Boulboullé, J.B., Klein, Joel A & Smith, Pamela H (2016). The Making and Knowing Project - Reflections, Methods, and New Directions. West 86th, 23 (1), (pp. 35-55) (20 p.).
  2016 - Overige resultaten
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ARTECHNE: Technique in the Arts: Concepts, Practices, Expertise
01-07-2016 tot 01-07-2020
Algemene projectbeschrijving 

The transmission of ‘technique’ in art has been a conspicuous ‘black box’ resisting analysis. Only in the most recent years, the history of science and technology has turned to how-to instructions as given in recipes. This project proposes to undertake the experimental reconstruction of historical recipes to finally open the black box of the transmission of technique in the visual and decorative arts. Considering ‘technique’ as a textual, material and social practice, this project will write a long-term history of the theory and practice of the study of ‘technique’ in the visual and decorative arts between 1500 and 1950. The three central research questions here are: (1) what is technique in the visual and decorative arts, (2) how is technique transmitted and studied, and (3) who is considered expert in technique, and why? This project integrates methodologies typical for the humanities and historical disciplines with laboratory work, and lays the historical foundations of the epistemologies of conservation, restoration and technical art history.

Rol: Uitvoerder Financiering
3e geldstroom - EU: European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant
Overige projectleden:
  • Maartje Stols-Witlox (UvA)
  • Tonny Beentjes (UvA)

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Volledige naam
dr. J.B. Boulboullé Contactgegevens
Drift 10

Drift 10
Kamer 1.06

Telefoonnummer direct 030 253 7847
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Laatst bijgewerkt op 04-09-2017