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Latitudes of the body: Human-based measurement and its contexts, from Leonardo to Newton (1400-1700)

International summer school

The Centre for the Study of Medicine and the Body in the Renaissance (CSMBR) organises their 2021 international summer school this year from 21-24 July. Participation is permitted both in presence in Pisa, Italy, and online.

The summer school will explore theories, applications, problems, and contexts of human-based measurements across the late medieval and early modern period (c.1400-1700). It builds upon four strictly related questions:

  • How was it like experiencing the world before the advent of universally standardised measurement?
  • What role did the human body, its limbs and the five senses play in defining spaces, distances, values, lists of objects, schemes and prices?
  • How were systems of human-based measurement affected by the advent of early modern technology?
  • To what extent can we replace human-based and value-laden measurement with technology-based parameters?

These questions will be addressed both in presentations and roundtables by focusing on three main themes, namely

  • the Body as a Canon and its Proportions
  • the Body as  a Unit of Measurement: Place, Space, and Orientation
  • the Body as a Unit of Value: Quality and Price

While strongly rooted in the CSMBR intellectual history tradition, the summer school will present and discuss a variety of verbal and non-verbal sources (e.g. manuscripts, images, music pieces, and artefacts) in a multidisciplinary approach that aims at attracting and welcoming scholars with different backgrounds, interests and expertise. The summer school is open to students and scholars at all stages of their career. Sources will be pre-circulated in order for attendees to engage fruitfully in conversation with speakers in roundtables at the end of the fourth day. Small presentations (no longer than 5-7 minutes each) are also welcome.

Five fellowships are available to cover expenses; the deadline for applications is 15 April.
More information on the CSMBR website.