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# Exploring 19th and 20th centuries historiographies of mathematics in the ancient world (2015-2016)

Seminar of the European Research Council Project "Mathematical sciences in the ancient world"

Published on Friday, February 05, 2016 by Céline Guilleux

Summary

The organization of this seminar marks the beginning of the third and last phase of the SAW project. Our aim is to explore various facets of 19^{th} and 20^{th} century historical research about ancient mathematical sciences, especially those attested to by sources written in Chinese, the languages of the Indian subcontinent and cuneiform script.

Announcement

# Argument

The organization of this seminar marks the beginning of the third and last phase of the SAW project. Our aim is to explore various facets of 19th and 20th century historical research about ancient mathematical sciences, especially those attested to by sources written in Chinese, the languages of the Indian subcontinent and cuneiform script.

After a brief examination of 17th and 18th century writings on mathematical sciences of the ancient world, we will analyze how worldwide in the first half of the 19th century roughly speaking, different milieus (orientalists, Confucian scholars, Indian pandits, mathematicians, philologists, etc) began systematically exploring mathematical sources of the past. We will analyze the issues and sources they privileged, their methods of inquiry and interpretation, the values they prized, the networks and the institutions to which they belonged and the contexts in which they carried out their historical work. After having focused on historical writing before the professionalisation of the history of mathematics, we will turn to the time period of professionalisation. Against this background, we will then concentrate on two specific topics important for the SAW project: the historiography of computation and the historiographic treatment of measurement units in the history of ancient mathematics. Finally, we will examine more global issues: how the different historiographies of ancient mathematics approached questions of comparison and circulation, and how they dealt with issues related to culture, civilization, and similar topics. The past and present-day uses of history of mathematics in specific communities will be equally at the center of our interest in this final part of the seminar.

The seminar is intended as a meeting of historians of mathematics with historians of philology, of orientalism, assyriologists, indologists, sinologists, and other specialists.

# Programme

## November 13, 2015

Room 483 A, Condorcet – 9.30-5.30 pm,Historical approaches to ancient mathematics and astral sciences in the early modern period

**Christopher Minkowski**,*The sense of history in Indian astronomical texts***David Rabouin**,*Wallis as an historian of Algebra***Antoni Malet**,*Milliet Dechales’s history of mathematics***Florence Hsia**,*Reconstructing science in sinographic archives*

## December 18, 2015

Room 483 A, Condorcet – 9.30-5.30 pm, History of mathematics and the astral sciences in the ancient world in a context of professionalisation. The case of Mesopotamia

**Martina Schneider/Pierre Chaigneau**,*Chaldean/Babylonian mathematics according to Hankel and Cantor***Teije de Jong**,*The rediscovery of Babylonian Astronomy: a historiographic narrative***John Steele**,*Abraham Sachs and the History of Babylonian science***Victor Gysembergh**,*“Greek” science, “Babylonian” science? A vexata quaestio in the historiography of science*

## January 8, 2016

Room 483 A, Condorcet – 9.30-5.30 pm, Historiography of ancient mathematics and astral sciences in India before its professionalisation

**Ivahn Smadja**,*Crossing Borders: Henry Thomas Colebrooke and his European readers***Kevin Lambert**,*Counting on Power: George Peacock, the History of Arithmetic and the Late Georgian British Colonial State***Agathe Keller & Catherine Singh**,*Editions and translations of Sanskrit Mathematical and Astral texts in India at the beginning of the twentieth century*

## January 22, 2016

Room 483 A, Condorcet – 9.30-5.30 pm, Historiography of ancient mathematics and astral sciences in China before its professionalisation

**Daniel Morgan**,*A Sphere unto Itself: the Death and Medieval Framing of the History of Chinese Cosmology***CHEN Zhihui**,*Wylie’s translation of the terminologies for the traditional Chinese mathematics***Martina Schneider & Karine Chemla**,*The reception of Alexander Wylie’s Jottings on the science of the Chinese. Arithmetic in Europe in the 19th and early 20th centuries***MIZUNO Hiromi**,*When Cultural History Meets Mathematics: wasan and Yoshio Mikami*

## February 19, 2016

Room 483 A, Condorcet – 9.30-5.30 pm, Historiography of ancient mathematics and astral sciences, with a focus of China, and the Indian subcontinent: The beginnings of professionalisation

**Jiří Hudeček**,*Evidential Scholarship and New Humanism: Li Yan and Qian Baocong as Historians of Chinese Mathematics***Dhruv Raina**,*The `Analytics’ and the Indologists: How the history of mathematics shaped mathematics education in Nineteenth Century India?***Ksenia Tatarchenko**,*Old Truths for Tomorrow: Sketching Professional, Popular and Amateur Histories of Ancient Mathematics in the Soviet Union***Alma Steingart**,*Cold War Antiquities: Histories of Mathematics in the Postwar United States*

## March 18, 2016

Room 483 A, Condorcet – 9.30-5.30 pm, Historiography of calculation and computation in the ancient world

**Baptiste Mélès**,*Conceptions of Computation in Historiography of Mesopotamian Mathematics***Lisa Indracollo**,*Number, Units, and Conceptual Categories. Conceptions and misconceptions about numbers in China and the West***Serafina Cuomo**,*The other Greeks – notation, calculation, and cultural classification?***HIROSE Sho**,*Observation versus Computation in Indian Astronomy*

## April 15, 2016

Room 483 A, Condorcet – 9.30-5.30 pm, Historiography of measurement units

**Marie-José Durand-Richard**,*The English Algebraists: from the practice of arithmetics to its theory***Pierre Chaigneau**,*In the jungle of Mesopotamian metrologies: on Thureau-Dangin’s first approach to cuneiform numbers and quantities***Nadine de Courtenay**,*tba***WANG Xiaofei**,*La réforme des poids et mesures et le calcul d’arithmétique lors de la Révolution Française*

## May 20, 2016

Room 483 A, Condorcet – 9.30-5.30 pm, Historiography of comparison & Historiography of circulation, with a particular reference to the ancient mathematical sciences

**Justin Smith**,*The ‘Hard Problem’ of Comparative Intellectual History: The Case of Europe and India***Pascale Rabault**,*Oriental languages and the development of comparative linguistics in the 19th century***Francesca Rochberg**,*The Ancient Astral Sciences of Babylonia and the Greco-Latin World: Highways and Byways of Comparison***Karine Chemla, CHEN Zhihui, Daniel Morgan & ZHOU Xiaohan Célestin**,*19th century uses of comparison in the historiography of mathematics and astral sciences in China*

## June 17, 2016

Room 483 A, Condorcet – 9.30-5.30 pm, Historiography of science, ideologies and identities (culture, civilisation, communities)

**Agathe Keller**,*Vedic Mathematics and its historiography of «hindu» mathematics***Habib Irfan**,*tba***LEI Hsiang-lin**,*How Did Chinese Medicine Become Chinese? Re-thinking the conception of culture in understanding Chinese medicine*

Subjects

- Science studies (Main subject)
- Society > Science studies > History of science
- Zones and regions > Asia > Middle East
- Zones and regions > Asia > Far East > China
- Zones and regions > Asia > Indian world
- Zones and regions > Asia > Far East
- Mind and language > Epistemology and methodology

Places

- Salle 483 A - Université Paris Diderot, Bâtiment Condorcet, 10 rue Alice Domon et Léonie Duquet

Paris, France (75013)

Date(s)

- Friday, November 13, 2015
- Friday, December 18, 2015
- Friday, January 08, 2016
- Friday, January 22, 2016
- Friday, February 19, 2016
- Friday, March 18, 2016
- Friday, April 15, 2016
- Friday, May 20, 2016
- Friday, June 17, 2016

Attached files

Keywords

- mathematics, cosmology, astral sciences, Mesopotamia

Contact(s)

- Karine Chemla
*courriel :*chemla [at] univ-paris-diderot [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

- Nad Fachard
*courriel :*nad [dot] fachard [at] univ-paris-diderot [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Exploring 19th and 20th centuries historiographies of mathematics in the ancient world (2015-2016) », Seminar and workshop, *Calenda*, Published on Friday, February 05, 2016, https://calenda.org/355990