The Habsburg Monarchy as a Workshop of World Knowledge 1760–1860

This project rediscovers the Habsburg lands as a thoughtscape and hotbed of innovative scholarly practices. Retrieving the knowledge that emerged in this region under the conditions of imperial diversity, my research also identifies its ties to the wider world. Scholars, scientists and savants from Central Europe developed a rich conceptual portfolio with a plethora of specific techniques to grasp and shape an imperial polity that was marked by religious and linguistic plurality. The challenges of present-day diverse societies throw the importance of these techniques into sharp relief. My studies view Central Europe's history of knowledge afresh by unearthing their intellectual profile and political functions, and they do so in three regards: I aim at integrating the history of the natural sciences with that of the humanities by focusing on their shared epistemic resources, I seek do so by drawing on a rich repository of material from diverse languages of the region, and I attempt to situate the local practices of worldmaking in their planetary context by studying the linkages and feedback loops that connected Central Europe to the globe.

Head of Project: Franz L. Fillafer
Funding: ÖAW

Photo: © Wien Museum