** detailed studies of 17th-century arts & sciences, and material culture **
First Published: August 2012
Revised (substantive): 24 November 2016
The premises and procedures of well-motivated historical inquiry may thus furnish a simple distinction: not the past, but investigating the past is edifying.
— Nancy Struever, “Philosophical Problems and Historical Solutions,” 85.
In At the Nexus of Philosophy and History, ed. by Bernard P. Dauenhauer (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1987).
THE STUDIES SECTION OF She-philosopher.com was added in August 2012. It houses synopses that offer convenient entry points to ongoing research projects which can be thematically organized.
Unfortunately, not everything I study can be so neatly arranged. Some research topics — ranging from Europeans’ discovery and marketing of pharmaceuticals such as contrayerva, to the history of trades and industrial arts such as printing and masonry — are too eclectic to be easily contained within a single organizing category. My study of contrayerva, for example, is a subset of the much larger research project focused on the Countess of Kent’s powder recipe, Pulvis Cantianus; and my study of the practice of masonry, including women’s involvement in the trade, merges with research in other areas such as early proposals to reform vocational education, debates over the pros and cons of full public disclosure of scientific & technological advances, including trade secrets, the quarrying of stone and growth of materials science, the mason as Aristotle’s model phronimos (a person who possesses practical wisdom), “branding” small businesses, etc. Such a bold sweep inevitably leads to overlapping conceptual categories which, at least in the early stages of the research process, defy easy categorization. If a single, themed presentation exists for my masonry-related historical research, I haven’t been able to discover it!
In my experience, clarity about the research process and its direction sometimes comes with time and distance, and is almost always a serendipitous discovery. Because the studies presented here are open-ended, it is difficult to epitomize them. Like everything else at She-philosopher.com, each study synopsis must be polished enough to withstand the acid bath of peer review, and yet still allow for ongoing revision, so as to accommodate new research. This is a difficult balance to strike, and helps explain why I can’t churn out scholarly webessays with the same abandon other Web publishers enjoy.
The following list of active links will be updated as I continue to learn more. With historical research of this sort, there’s no way of knowing ahead of time what I shall find, or when I shall find it, especially given my penchant for following up the most interesting research leads, and opening myself to detours and distractions that wreak havoc on my schedule, but otherwise almost always bear fruit.
Currently, the list of themed studies underway at She-philosopher.com includes:
• English Printers’ Ornaments (overview page)
• Trade Recipes: Printer’s Ink
• Trade Recipes: Writer’s Ink
• Medical Recipe: The Countess of Kent’s Powder (Pulvis Cantianus)
• Medical Recipe: Lady Owen’s 16th-Century Practice of Chemotherapy
• the 17th-Century Traveler as Citizen Scientist
• Amanteca: AmerIndian Feather Paintings
• Ars memoria (the art of memory)
• Early-Modern Branding
• Early-Modern Desalination Systems
• European Fashions Inspired by AmerIndian Body Art
• Natural & Cultural History: the Chameleon
• Natural & Cultural History: American Cochineal and European Markets
• Natural & Cultural History: the Pineapple
• Natural & Cultural History: the American Hummingbird and European Markets
• Natural & Cultural History: the Flying Fish
• Natural & Cultural History: the Sagoin (marmoset)
• Natural & Cultural History: Tobacco
• Natural & Cultural History: Maize (Indian Corn) and its Cultivation in Virginia
• Natural & Cultural History: the Five Sexes
• Classical Virtue: Festina lente
• Classical Virtue: Phronesis
• Classical Virtue: Prudentia
• Modern Virtue: Critical Pluralism
• Modern Justice: California’s flawed “Good Neighbor Fence Act of 2013” (Assembly Bill 1404 or AB 1404), under which long-time California property owners have lost rights & security
These are in various stages of preparation. Once a research synopsis for a given study has been finalized and posted to She-philosopher.com, its title in the above list will change to an active hyperlink, indicating its publication online.