University of Oxford, UK
Laufzeit des Stipendiums: 01.09.2020 - 30.11.2020
D.Phil History (seit 2016)
Doctoral Student, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (2018 und 2019)
Guest Scholar, Leibniz Zentrum für Literatur - und Kultur-Forschung - ZFL (2019)
Visiting Fellow, Lichtenberg-Kolleg - The Göttingen Institute for Advanced Study (2019)
Visiting Fellow, Ecole Normale Superieure - ENS Ulm (2020)
Gottfried Leibniz in the Eyes of German Courtiers and Savants (1670-1679)
In Germany, I will be able to complete the final stage of my thesis, addressing how Leibniz, and his scientific and political projects were perceived by his German contemporaries over the course of the 1670s - a question which has hitherto remained completely unexplored. Leibniz was very socially mobile, moving in and out of multiple intellectual and scientific circles, assessing the validity of 'curiosities', advocating his scientific agenda at the Mainz and Hannover courts, and promoting technical and commercial ventures - always seeking practical applications from theoretical knowledge. The staggering range of his activities included publishing articles, promoting scientific societies, seeking to acquire the secret of phosphorus, inventing a calculating machine, and advocating medical measures and engineering projects (e.g. pumps for the Harz mines). Crucially, he hoped to create a place for himself at court and within the Republic of Letters and to establish his own brand of knowledge and sphere of influence.
Leibniz's activities as a savant, a philosopher and a theologian often doubled with his legal, political and diplomatic activities. In the face of Louis XIV's aggressive and expansionistic foreign politics, Leibniz aspired to a key political role which would see him implement reforms, mediate conflicts and broker peace in the hope of helping create a new defensive alliance of German states under the leadership of the Holy Roman Empire. He seems, however, not to have been perceived as a fully reliable political agent and to have remained confined to the antechambers of power, acting as an informant and adviser only in an unofficial capacity and even, at times, exaggerating his involvement in political matters. It now remains for me to explore in further detail how Leibniz was perceived as a savant, projector, legal reformer, and theologian who sought to reconcile Catholicism and Protestantism within the Empire.
Veröffentlichungen im Bereich der Aufklärungsforschung
'Friedrich Meinecke or the Defeat of Cultural Historicism', in Hermann Paul and Adriaan van Veldhuizen (eds.), Historicism as a Polemical Concept in the Humanities and Social Sciences, 1890-1980 (London: Bloomsbury, forthcoming October 2020)
Co-editor with Nicholas Halmi, 'Universal Histories', Intellectual History Review, special issue (forthcoming 2021)
'Projectors' entry in Charles Wolfe and Dana Jalobeanu (eds.) Encyclopaedia of Early Modern Science and Philosophy (Heidelberg: Springer Verlag, online edition June 2020, print edition forthcoming January 2021)