Josephine Musil-Gutsch joins the Vossius Center for one months in April 2019 as a Research Fellow with the project "Material Analysis of Archeological Artefacts. Cooperations between Sciences and Humanities around 1900".
Recent studies in the history of science explore either the sciences or the humanities, but rarely the entanglement of the "Two Cultures" in cooperative contexts. This research project analyzes cooperations between the sciences and the humanities in terms of their formation and development in German-speaking countries for the period 1880-1930. Material analysis of archaeological artefacts in various historical disciplines are used as an example to investigate interdisciplinary cooperative research. At the end of the 19th century, disciplines like archaeology, (art) history and oriental studies were confronted and shaped by the vast amount of archaeological material excavated during colonial expeditions. The materiality of artefacts increasingly became a focal point of interest for e.g. hitherto philologically-oriented orientalists. However, material analysis required scientific methods. Therefore, in networks stretching across Europe, orientalists, archaeologists, (art-)historians and paleographers sought cooperation with natural scientists to investigate the materiality of artefacts. By cooperating with chemists or botanists, who e.g. microscopically analyzed artefacts like plant fibres in ancient manuscripts or babylonian enamelled tiles, scholars were able to answer historico-cultural research questions about ancient civilisations. My research goals are: 1. analyzing cooperative dynamics and structures between the sciences and the humanities by investigating research practices, methods and knowledge transfer applied within the cooperations, 2. understanding the meaning of material/materiality within the cooperations and 3. for the first time exploring the history of this heterogeneous research area – today understood as archaeometry –, which had significant impact on the institutional and epistemological constitution of the German-speaking historical disciplines dealing with material objects.
Josephine Musil-Gutsch is currently PhD researcher at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in the History of Science (Prof. Dr. Kärin Nickelsen), funded by Gerda Henkel Stiftung. She obtained her Master of Arts in München with the MA thesis "A Botanist in Paleography: Julius Wiesner’s Plant Physiologist Studies on Ancient Paper (around 1900)".