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Home > Research > Researchers > Stephen Pumfrey
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Current Postgraduate Research Students

Stephen Pumfrey supervises 4 postgraduate research students. Some of the students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

Student research profiles

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Dr Stephen Pumfrey M.A. (Cantab.) Ph. D. (University of London)

Senior Lecturer

Stephen Pumfrey

Bowland College

Lancaster University

Bailrigg

Lancaster LA1 4YT

United Kingdom

Tel: +44 1524 592508

Location:

PhD supervision

Science, Medicine and Philosophy in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe.

In particular,Stephen Pumfrey would be pleased to hear from students interested in researching and writing dissertations and theses on topics that fall under the following headings:

Renaissance and early modern natural philosophy. Renaissance and early modern astronomy/cosmology. Science and patronage. The growth of experimental science. The intellectual history of magic and witchcraft. The intellectual history of early modernity.

Current Teaching

HIST 100: History and Historians

I am convenor of this, the department's core first year course taken by over 300 students. My specific contribution to this broad course is two sets of lectures and associated seminars. The first introduces students to "the medieval world view" of the universe and humankind's place in it, and follows its destruction and replacement by our modern scientific one. The second examines the so-called "Enlightenment" of the eighteenth century. How rational was this "Age of Reason", especially when it came to Europeans' reactions to other cultures.

HIST 294/295. Nature and Culture: the Renaissance and After.

This pair of modules examines changing ideas about the natural world from c.1500-c.1700. It begins with the Renaissance worldveiw of Christianised Greek philosophy, looks at revolutions in medicine, anatomy, astronomy, examines the rise and fall of witchcraft and magic, and asks how much of modern attitudes to nature had been forged by the era of Isaac Newton.HIST294 generally runs in the Michaelmas term and covers broad themes.HIST295 generally runs in the Lent term and looks at in-depth case studies.

HIST 333. Science and Society in England, 1640-1688.

A third level, intensively taught course consisting of over 60 hours of seminars, often focussing on primary sources. We assess the nature of England's rapid rise to prominence as a scientific nation in these five decades, relate it to the social and cultural context, and assess the strength of competing explanations of it. A fuller description can be found at:http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fass/history/undergrad/hist333.htm

Hist 405. History for Life. History of science and its relevance to our current understanding of science.

Hist422. Medieval Documents and Paleography. Sessions on the transition from manuscript to print culture, and on editing early modern documents.

SSM module: The Medical Marketplace in Early Modern England.

A short, intensive course for medical students on medical provision in England c.1550-c.1750.

The major courses above have dedicated interactive websites, which include substantial electronic resources compiled by Dr Pumfrey. These "LUVLE sites" are not externally available.

Research Interests

Summary of research interests.

Stephen Pumfrey's research interests lie in the history of Renaissance and early modern science and medicine. He is especially concerned with post-positivist understandings of the emergence of "new philosophy" in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. His current projects in this area investigate the importance of patronage in England, and the work of the transitional philosopher William Gilbert. More generally, he explores the role of early modern science in the construction of modernity. He is also pioneering research using corpus linguistics in early modern texts.

'Science and patronage in England, 1570-1625' is the title of a three-year, AHRC-funded major research project which he is directed, and for which a major monograph is planned for 2012. He is also working, together with Dr Ian Stewart in Canada, on a critical edition and translation of William Gilbert's manuscript De Mundo Nostro Sublunari, to be published by Brill Academic in 2010.

Areas of Research Supervision

Dr Pumfrey would be pleased to hear from students interested in researching and writing dissertations and theses on topics that fall under the following headings:

  1. Science, Medicine and Philosophy in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe.
  2. Early English Books and the application of corpus linguistic analysis.
  3. Patronage in Tudor and Stuart England
  4. The intellectual history of magic and witchcraft.
  5. Science, technology, private enterprise and the state in England, 1500-1800.
  6.  

Research Interests in more detail.

His main expertise lies in the history of Renaissance and early modern science and medicine. More generally, he explores the role of early modern science in the construction of modernity. He is especially concerned with post-positivist understandings of the emergence of "new philosophy" in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. His current projects include: the emergence of experimental philosophy in the seventeenth century; the history of astronomy, notably lunar astronomy; the work of the transitional philosopher William Gilbert (1544-1603).He is also working, together with Dr Ian Stewart in Canada, on a critical edition and translation of William Gilbert's manuscript De Mundo Nostro Sublunari, to be published by Brill Academic in 2012-13.His most recent publication in this area concerns Gilbert's extraordinary map of the moon.

'Science and patronage in England, 1570-1625' is the title of a three-year, AHRC-funded major research project which he directed, and for which a major monograph is planned for 2014. His research on this large topic is continuing, and his most recent publications in the area are:John Dee: the patronage of a natural philosopher in Tudor England (2012)and a chapter on Thomas Harriot and patronage in the forthcoming book (August, 2012)Thomas Harriot and His World: Mathematics, Exploration, and Natural Philosophy in Early Modern England.

He is now developing a new field of research, applying the techniques of corpus linguistics to the corpus of Early English Books Online (which exceeds one billion words). He is collaborating with members of UCREL (University Centre for Computer Corpus Research on Language), notably Dr Paul Rayson, and he convenes the research group CREME (Corpus Research on Early Modern English). An early product and first publication of this research concerns the transition from religious to scientific meanings of the lemma experiment in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English.See "Experiments in Early Modern English" in Literary and Linguistic Computing (forthcoming, Summer 2012)

He is also interested in comparisons of public and private promotion of science in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He is co-supervisor, with Dr Graham Dyer of The Royal Mint Museum, of an AHRC CDA project investigating The Royal Mint in the mid eighteenth century and the extent of its innovativeness.

Additional Information

Other Interests and Hobbies

Squash, cooking, historical novels, Chorlton St John's Junior F.C..

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