Category Archives: Project Updates

Kaspar Schotts Netzwerk: publication announcement and project profile.

Caspar Schott S.J. (1608-1666) is a remarkable representative of the passion for scientific knowledge that, in the first two thirds of the seventeenth century, possessed enough educated people across Europe as to create a new social entity – the Republic of Letters – the service of which became their primary loyalty. They did not know exactly where they were headed, nor did they particularly foresee the magnitude of their impact; what they did know with blazing conviction was that the long tradition of philosophical theorising without the support of quantitative experiment was bankrupt. As Schott’s mentor and hero Athanasius Kircher says: ‘All philosophy unless grounded in experiment is empty fallacious and useless…Experiment alone is the arbiter of disputed questions, the reconciler of difficulties and the one teacher of the truth’1. This common conviction bonded scholars of disparate religious and philosophical outlooks to the citizenship of a republic of learning.

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Join the Team: We’re Now Hiring a Part-time Digital Editorial Assistant!

We’re excited to announce a part-time, fixed term job opportunity with Cultures of Knowledge, available from 1 March 2013. Are you an eagle-eyed lover of data? Do you love early modern letters? Would you like to work behind the scenes for one of the University of Oxford’s largest and most exciting digital humanities enterprises? If so, read on…

We are seeking a highly motivated and meticulous digital editorial assistant with strong IT skills to work part-time with us for 9 months. The successful applicant will contribute to the digitisation of metadata on early modern correspondence by using bespoke data-entry and data manipulation software. Working on a variety of datasets of early modern letters, he or she will help us accurately and responsibly expand our union catalogue, ingesting thousands of records of letters from archives and libraries around the world. Full training on using our software will be provided. It is essential that the successful applicant has a keen eye for detail and is confident with maintaining the highest standards of accuracy during the often mechanical tasks necessary to process large amounts of data.


Early Modern Editor? Cape and hat optional.
Tommaso da Modena, ‘Hugo of Saint-Cher’, 1352 (wikimedia commons)

The closing date for this position is Wednesday 12th February. For further details of the post and instructions on how to apply, head over to the University job site (Further Particulars also available here). We have other opportunities in the pipeline – in the coming months we will be advertising for a Digital Humanities Fellow, and we will also be recruiting more ad-hoc, hourly-paid Digital Fellows to help us reach our ingest targets. To stay informed of these vacancies, please sign-up to the blog’s RSS Feed, Follow Us on Twitter, or join our Mailing List.

If you have any queries about the position, email Lizzy Williamson at or call +44(0)1865 615026. We look forward to hearing from you!

Letters in Focus: Nativity Scenes

Christmas is just around the corner and for those with young children this may well entail – as well as wrapping late and waking early – obligatory attendance at the traditional school plays that re-enact a particularly famous birth. The Nativity may be unique, but whether for celebration, ritual or act of witness, the account of a birth has a real potency, and rarely more so than in the context of dynastic royalty.

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Robin Buning Joins Cultures of Knowledge as Hartlib Research Fellow

We are delighted to report that, from 1 December 2013, Robin Buning will be joining Cultures of Knowledge as a Research Fellow, working on the detailed reconstruction of the epistolary community of Samuel Hartlib (c.1600-1662). Robin’s work on this celebrated network will continue a long-standing collective effort, advanced most recently by Dr Leigh Penman during his fellowship within Cultures of Knowledge between 2009 and 2011.

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James Brown Bids Farewell to Cultures of Knowledge

It is with mixed feelings that I announce the most significant alteration in the five-year history of the Cultures of Knowledge project office. As of last week, our incomparable Digital Project Manager and long-time friend and colleague, Dr James Brown, has been reclaimed by his first love: the world of alehouses, taverns, and drink.

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2013 Lunchtime Seminars on Negotiating Networks: Programme Available!

We are excited to announce our schedule of 2013 Lunchtime Seminars. Themed ‘Negotiating Networks: Six Case Studies’, the series brings together nine researchers from six projects bringing innovative digital techniques and fresh conceptual frameworks to bear on communities of association, especially of an epistolary flavour, from various time periods. Starting on Thursday 31 October (Week 3), seminars will take place every Thursday at 1pm throughout Michaelmas Term in the conference room of the Oxford e-Research Centre on Keble Road (with the exception of the session on 21 November, which will be held at St Anne’s College). And, as it’s lunchtime, sandwiches and refreshments will be provided free of charge to all attendees. All are welcome; hope to see you there!

Lizzy Williamson Joins Cultures of Knowledge as Digital Project Manager

We are delighted to announce that, from 1 October 2013, Dr Elizabeth Williamson will be joining Cultures of Knowledge as our brand new Digital Project Manager, overseeing all aspects of our activities on a day-to-day basis, with particular reference to the ongoing development and population of Early Modern Letters Online. She succeeds Dr James Brown, who after four years with us will be taking up a research post at the University of Sheffield on the new AHRC/ESRC project Intoxicants and Early Modernity: England, 1570-1740.

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New Correspondence Project: John Collins and Mathematical Culture in Restoration England

We are excited to report that Dr Jackie Stedall and Dr Philip Beeley, the latter a former Research Fellow on Cultures of Knowledge (where he worked on the letters of mathematician John Wallis), have been awarded a major AHRC grant for a new early modern correspondence project on ‘Mathematical Culture in Restoration England: The Life and Letters of John Collins’.

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