Fokko Jan Dijksterhuis studies the cultural history of early modern knowledge practices. Tracing spatial and cultural interactions and reconfigurations between various socio-cultural groups gives insight into the emergence of categories of science, technology and society.
His early research focused on the history of early modern optics, investigating the intersections between mathematics, physics and instruments in the seventeenth century. He made a detailed reconstruction of the origin of Huygens’ principle of wave propagation. He has an ongoing specific interest in matters of light, exploring new perspectives on early modern optics from the arts, instruments, philosophy, and economy.
His current research interests range from the substantiality of Enlightened conceptions of light, to the trail of atmospheric contraptions from Drebbel to Papin, and the urban chorography as breeding ground for knowledge as cultural asset. In his inaugural lecture Worlds of Ingenuity he outlined the historiographical context of such projects, highlighting the artifactual and experiential character of early modern knowledge practices.
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