Thursday Lecture Series: Altered States

What “Things” Can Do: Writing Entangled Histories of Early Modernity

Thursday, The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room

Global histories of modernity often reproduce rather than challenge Eurocentric narratives. “Entanglement” is a term of the zeitgeist, finding favor among physicists, philosophers and historians, among others. For scholars in the humanities the attraction is related to a desire to escape these Eurocentric accounts of modernity. The talk will explore why “entangled” is a metaphor that is “good to think with.” Entangled histories of “things,” in particular, can foreground the importance of technologies, aesthetics, rituals (as well as beliefs), and doesn’t exaggerate the importance of slippery and sometimes essentializing concepts such as “epistemology,” “cosmology,” or ““ontology.”