studies in the history of science and culture

© April 2004
revised 13 January 2013


I am happy to report that a new and improved is coming soon!

I am hoping to officially launch the refashioned website in the next few months.

We’re going to have a new look, and lots of new content … so be sure to check on our progress occasionally.

HELP keep high-quality, original scholarship on the Web — and freely available to all!

Ornament from 19th-century edition of Capt. John Smith's publications on North America

Welcome to, a site for independent scholarly studies in the history of science and culture.

We are pleased to offer its resources to you for pleasure, study, or intensive research.

the site concept was conceived as an experiment in e-scholarship. While there is a great deal of original research housed here — including archival data, images, and scholarly interpretations not available elsewhere — the site was never intended as a databank or publishing warehouse for academic materials, or as a comprehensive source of links and pointers to everything ever written on related subjects. Rather, I have made a concerted effort to move beyond an orthodox “academic voice” to a more “public voice,” and with it, a new model of “open research.”

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a note on site design

As will quickly become apparent, is not designed for the casual viewer, but for more leisurely scholarly inquiry.

I have had to make the usual trade-offs concerning image and file size versus load time, and have tended to longer HTML pages and larger images (especially for GALLERY exhibits) than is customary on most commercial sites.

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conditions of use

We ask you to adhere to the terms under which website content (text and images) is made available.

Copying of materials from is permitted only under the Fair Use provisions of copyright law. Unless otherwise noted, formal permission for reprints, screenshots, and hyperlinks is not required, but a brief e-mail message describing your use of content would be appreciated.

Please remember to credit as your source.

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about us

To begin with, “us” and “we” name the plural I of the site’s author and editor, Deborah Taylor-Pearce, who is wholly responsible for’s content and design.

As the site evolves in dialogue with others, I hope to persuade some of them to add their voices and new media creations to the mix. If/when content by others is made available here, it will carry its author’s byline.

If you have any questions or comments about site content and design, please contact the site editor.

For technical matters, such as viewing problems or broken links, please contact the site webmaster.

NOTE: We use cloaked addresses on this page to discourage spam; unfortunately, these get corrupted sometimes and don’t work. In such cases, you can contact us directly by sending an e-mail to: editor(a) Please substitute the proper @ symbol for the (a) when sending e-mail; again, we use the (a) here instead of @ to discourage spam.

support this site

E-scholarship is costly and needs financial support, as does the sort of scholarship funded by more traditional institutions of patronage (in the past, wealthy princes, aristocrats and burghers; today, universities, government funding agencies, R&D firms, well-endowed “think-tanks”).

As a thoroughly independent and somewhat risky venture, has no such patrons to solicit. Nor do I have an academic salary to fall back on, or any of the usual perquisites (like paid sabbatical leave) that come with it. I must donate everything — including my time and research — that goes into site development.

In so doing, I rely on the growing network of supporters (many of them non-academic) who are willing to share research with me and contribute to the informal scholarly dialogue on which this site depends.

The result is a new kind of scholarship, conducted in the spirit of the “gift economy” which flourishes on the Internet.

As such, will continue to make the highest quality scholarship freely available — in hopes, but with no requirement, of reciprocity. If you value the site’s resources, and can afford to make even a small donation to the cause of e-scholarship, I encourage you to do so.

Your Contributions Make Our New Style of Sociable Scholarship Possible!

what’s new

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Ornament from 19th-century edition of Capt. John Smith's publications on North America

what’s in a name?

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what’s in a picture?

Kircher's 9 she-philosophers (1669)


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A brief word on the evolving genres of scholarly publication, since I continue to be contacted by those searching for a list of my print publications.

The short answer is: there aren’t any.

I have chosen not to follow the traditional publication route (printed scholarly books and journals), and because I don’t have an academic career, I’m able to get away with this. Nonetheless, I’m still governed by the institutional dictum of “publish or perish,” which takes on a new cluster of meanings in the dynamic world of online publication.

When I launched, it was in hopes of opening new dialogues between past & present. This remains a work in progress, but thus far, I’m quite pleased with the results. I am doing the best scholarship I have ever done, and find that the quality of peer review within the online community is unsurpassed.

So let me make one last funding appeal: to all those who willingly would have purchased a printed book of mine, how about donating whatever you would have paid for such a book to instead?

If we are to keep up the new dialogue, a like-minded support of e-publication is essential.

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