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主講人：Prof. Ulrike Strasser (UCSD History)
This talk presents an aspect of a book project on an exceptionally rich eighteenth-century serial publication and its relationship to the European Enlightenment. Between 1726 and 1761, German Jesuits on the borderlands of the Ottoman Empire compiled and printed a massive serial publication entitled Der Neue Welt-Bott (The New World Messenger). Launched by Joseph Stöcklein, the collection comprises 812 texts from all over the world, as well as cultural commentary, maps, and images, amounting to 4,500 densely printed folio pages. This enormous body of Jesuit materials exemplifies the deep imbrication of religion and science, as well reason and emotion in the production of knowledge and European self-understandings in the Enlightenment. It also reveals how the missionary encounter with the “non-European world” shaped the making of “European” science and epistemologies. The talk focuses on the many accounts of transoceanic voyages in Der Neue Welt-Bott. Jesuits rubbed shoulders with peoples of other cultures and religions in the microcosm of transoceanic ships and recorded their empirical observations about others. Their recorded observations show a particular interest in how different groups on board managed the passion of fear during the journey. When sail-lacerating, mast-breaking storms struck fear into the hearts of all aboard, the ship became a Baconian laboratory of sorts in which Jesuits observed how different groups on board managed existential fears and interpreted the significance of these reactions for Europeans back home. In sharing Jesuit empirical knowledge about the microcosm of the ship, a space in which missionaries but not Europe’s learned travelled, the talk shows, Der Neue Welt-Bott sought to intervene in contemporary theological and philosophical debates in the European Republic of Letters about the nexus between fear, religion, superstition, and culture.
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