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  Subjects -> SCIENCES: COMPREHENSIVE WORKS (Total: 374 journals)
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  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 2058-850X - ISSN (Online) 2056-354X
Published by Cambridge University Press Homepage  [352 journals]
  • BJT volume 7 Cover and Front matter

    • Pages: 1 - 2
      PubDate: 2022-11-17
      DOI: 10.1017/bjt.2022.10
       
  • BJT volume 7 Cover and Back matter

    • Pages: 1 - 2
      PubDate: 2022-11-17
      DOI: 10.1017/bjt.2022.11
       
  • Taste and the history of science: introduction

    • Authors: Hendriksen; Marieke M.A., Wragge-Morley, Alexander
      Pages: 1 - 12
      Abstract: In this introduction, we argue that the time is right to explore the role that taste has played in the history of science. For a long time, scientists, philosophers and historians regarded taste as incompatible with the production of knowledge, contrasting the apparent subjectivity of taste with the objectivity supposedly required by the sciences. In recent years, however, the intellectual foundations of this presumed incompatibility have broken down, presenting us with new opportunities to reassess how people use the sensory and mental operations of taste to obtain scientific knowledge. This introduction therefore begins by surveying the intellectual and scholarly landscape, seeking to explain the relative lack of attention to taste in the history of science, arguing that this inattention is misplaced. In turn, it continues by discussing the work that has led growing numbers of historians of science to take taste more seriously – most notably historical accounts revealing that the exclusion of taste from the domain of knowledge was the product of contingent circumstances that did not apply in early centuries, and may not apply today. Finally, by way of introducing the contributions to this issue, the introduction discusses the methodological innovations deployed by historians of science to better reckon not only with taste, but also with the forms of knowledge to which taste might lead.
      PubDate: 2022-10-25
      DOI: 10.1017/bjt.2022.8
       
  • Epistemic demarcations as social erasures: taste and the politics of
           distinction from the ‘revolutions of wisdom’ to the ‘Green
           Revolution’

    • Authors: Hamati-Ataya; Inanna
      Pages: 13 - 38
      Abstract: The epistemic and aesthetic dimensions of taste are always inscribed in conceptions of the social order that the discourse on taste simultaneously enacts and rationalizes, while veiling the logics of difference and power it thereby affirms and reproduces. This article illustrates the entanglement of social and intellectual hierarchies that anchors the resolution of the problem of taste in the mechanisms of social distinction and erasure. It does so by examining four socio-epistemic configurations in the history of Western knowledge. The first vignette contextualizes the original devaluation of taste in the competition between the Socratic philosophers and epistemic labourers whose elevation of taste disrupted the Athenian aristocratic order. The second vignette explores the entanglement of humoural theory with the racial and religious orders of the premodern age, as imperial encounters threatened European identity brought into contact with the tastes of others. The third vignette examines how the epistemic status of gustatory taste became anchored in the hierarchy of cultural taste within British empirical philosophy. Finally, the paper tracks new forms of social distinction in the resistance to the globalization of food systems and to the democratization of culinary tastes, as manifested in the constitution of an exclusivist ‘standard of taste’ for wine appreciation.
      PubDate: 2022-05-27
      DOI: 10.1017/bjt.2022.4
       
  • Making and taking theriac: an experimental and sensory approach to the
           history of medicine

    • Authors: Ahnfelt; Nils-Otto, Fors, Hjalmar, Wendin, Karin
      Pages: 39 - 62
      Abstract: This paper explores historically used medicaments by making them, or rather reworking them, in a modern laboratory and assessing them for taste, flavour and odour using sensory analysis and a trained panel of sensory assessors. Our test subject is the famous panacea theriac andromachalis, which is subjected to the methods of experimental history of science to create experimental data. We emphasize the importance of the sensory experience, in both the making and the taking of theriac. From antiquity and well into the nineteenth century, medical practitioners and patients held that the sensory qualities of medicaments were of significance. But sensory information is notoriously difficult to transmit textually, and today we know very little about the sensory characteristics of theriac, and other medicines of the past. This is a problematic lacuna in our knowledge of how actors perceived and used them. By choosing the reworking and sensory framework, we can approach early modern pharmacy both as a craft and as a creative process. Thus our study emphasizes the artisanal, or craft, aspect of medicine making. It indicates how the art of medicine making was integrated with and connected to a medical practice which relied heavily on direct sensory assessments of medicaments, disease and patients. Our purpose is, however, not to try to find out how historical medicine makers and patients ‘really felt’ when they experienced the act of smelling and tasting medicines. Our aim is rather to discuss what the sensory experience of making and tasting adds to the investigation of textual sources. Thus, by attempting to access information about the experience of medicine through experimental means, we aim to enrich and complement historical understanding of the medicines and medical theories of the past.
      PubDate: 2022-10-21
      DOI: 10.1017/bjt.2022.6
       
  • Bay salt in seventeenth-century meat preservation: how ethnomicrobiology
           and experimental archaeology help us understand historical tastes

    • Authors: Tsai; Grace E., Anderson, Robin C., Kotzur, Jackie, Davila, Erika, McQuitty, John, Nelson, Emelie
      Pages: 63 - 93
      Abstract: ‘Sea salt is made by boiling and evaporating sea water over the fire. Bay salt, by evaporating sea water, in pits clayed on the inside, by the heat of the sun. Basket salt is made by boiling away the water of salt springs over the fire. Rock salt is dug out of the ground’, wrote Charlotte Mason in The Lady's Assistant (1775), one of the most comprehensive eighteenth-century cookbooks. Although there were at least four variations of salt before the pre-industrial era, several historical recipes specified the use of bay salt (solar salt) for meat preservation, elevating its cultural status and implying that early modern actors had a refined understanding of salts, their tastes and their applications. This study uses scientific analysis to determine whether there is a biological or chemical basis for the superior reputation of bay salt for curing. Laboratory data suggest that bay salt contains microbes that produce nitrate and nitrite, which give the meat a more favourable taste and pleasant aesthetic. The authors thus demonstrate that combining insights from experimental archaeology with textual analysis of historical sources gives us a deeper understanding of historical uses of taste as an epistemic tool.
      PubDate: 2022-10-07
      DOI: 10.1017/bjt.2022.7
       
  • Taste and mining culture in early modern Spanish worlds

    • Authors: Vélez-Posada; Andrés, Saldarriaga, Gregorio
      Pages: 95 - 115
      Abstract: In this article we examine the intertwined relationship between taste and mining culture in early modern Spanish worlds, highlighting descriptions of metals and minerals through which taste appears as an epistemic marker with symbolic dimensions. Drawing on different documents regarding mining practices, mineral vocabulary and metal appreciation in Spain, New Spain, Peru and the New Kingdom of Granada (c.1550–1640), our article contends that knowing minerals through taste in the Spanish worlds was part of a practice engaged with the senses, the body politic and its cosmological order.
      PubDate: 2022-04-11
      DOI: 10.1017/bjt.2022.2
       
  • Through a glass darkly: race, thermal sensation and the nervous body in
           late colonial India

    • Authors: Venkat; Bharat Jayram
      Pages: 117 - 138
      Abstract: This article explores the role of what might be termed embodied experience in generating knowledge about climate – specifically by focusing on conversations about the effects of climate on the body in late nineteenth-century India. Central to the story is the question of how race maps onto ideas about the body's capacity to register or perceive its environment, and how this question articulates with concerns about standardization and judgement in scientific practice. Focusing on tropical heat, I argue that the British body became figured in late colonial scientific discourse as a kind of sensing technology, one that was transformed by the heat that it registered. However, determining the effects of heat on the body was not always straightforward; the sensation of heat was, at moments, attributed not to heat but instead to light. At stake in this partial displacement from heat to light was not the sensation itself, nor the bodily effects it produced, but rather the mechanisms that produced these sensations and effects. Nevertheless, observing these racialized bodily effects was a way to know climate, arguably as important as recording data from thermometers. Along these lines, pigmentation became a powerful, if imperfect, marker of racial difference that was also thought to confer specific sensory capacities on some and not on others. And it was through these capacities, through the perceived ability of certain bodies (and not others) to register the effects of heat and light, that knowledge of climate became intimately tied to ideas about race and biology.
      PubDate: 2022-06-20
      DOI: 10.1017/bjt.2022.3
       
  • Taste, intersubjectivity and medical expertise: the correspondence of
           George Cheyne, Selina Hastings and their patients

    • Authors: Wragge-Morley; Alexander
      Pages: 139 - 156
      Abstract: This paper examines the medical correspondence between the physician George Cheyne and the aristocrats Selina Hastings and Susan Keck. Written during the 1730s, these letters reveal that both Cheyne and his patients articulated a model of medical expertise based not on knowledge in any conventional sense, but rather on fellow feeling or intersubjectivity. Drawing on letters sent by Keck to Hastings that have yet to be noticed by historians, this paper tries to understand how Cheyne and Keck sought to convince Hastings that they had felt exactly the same symptoms under which she had suffered. In so doing, it draws on scholarship concerned with the sociology of taste. Whilst it does not claim that the intersubjective form of expertise modelled by Cheyne was a form of taste, it argues that the moves he and his patients made were analogous to the strategies used at other times and places by those concerned with taste. In both cases, the participants sought ways to obtain consensus about the supposedly subjective dimensions of human experience.
      PubDate: 2022-03-25
      DOI: 10.1017/bjt.2022.1
       
  • The formation of a taste judgement: how Benjamin R. Haydon came to value,
           observe and evaluate the Elgin Marbles

    • Authors: Gjikola; Ardeta
      Pages: 157 - 180
      Abstract: What are taste judgements' Do they have a claim to knowledge' This article addresses these questions by revisiting the long-eighteenth-century debate on taste judgements and examining the case of a judgement that was unusually explicit about its formation. The painter Benjamin R. Haydon (1786–1846) encountered the Parthenon sculptures in 1808, studied them for several years, and recorded how he came to pronounce them ‘the finest things on earth’. I describe the maturation of Haydon's judgement, presenting the process as revealing of the nature of taste judgements. I argue that taste judgements are a distinct form of knowledge that involve expertise in three experiential aspects: valuation (prizing an artwork), observation (discriminating referential features in an artwork), and evaluation (assigning a specific worth to an artwork). From a methodological standpoint, Haydon's judgement draws attention to individual resources for the stabilization of knowledge and invites reflection on the status of the case as a unit of analysis in the history of science.
      PubDate: 2022-10-31
      DOI: 10.1017/bjt.2022.9
       
  • Making the body politic through medicine: taste, health and identity in
           the Dutch Republic, 1636–1698

    • Authors: Hendriksen; Marieke M.A.
      Pages: 181 - 203
      Abstract: How, where and by whom were bodies shaped, maintained and politicized through medicine, diet and taste in the seventeenth-century Low Countries' The medicinal use of foodstuffs, tastes and diets played an important role in the maintenance and restoration of health in the early modern period. Simultaneously, the metaphor of the body politic has been used widely in historical regimes, yet the focus tends to be on royalty or elite bodies, and on political literature and the medical metaphors used in relation to the body politic in such documents. In the seventeenth-century Low Countries, politically engaged medical men published popular medical literature aimed at the lower and middle classes in which they offered advice on diet and taste, which was aimed not only at maintaining and restoring health, but also at shaping emerging national tastes and identities. This chapter analyses six of the most popular medical and pharma-botanical works in the vernacular by seventeenth-century Dutch physicians. It shows that politics – and, by extension, ideas about the body politic – influenced popular medicine, and thus shaped the health, bodies and identities of the lower and middle classes through diet and taste.
      PubDate: 2022-06-17
      DOI: 10.1017/bjt.2022.5
       
 
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