Research interests: History of Early Modern Philosophy & Digital Humanities.
The Afterlife of a Renaissance Genre: A Census of Dissertations in French Libraries 1500-1800
The dissertation as we know it today is a genre that has its roots in academic practices of the later Renaissance, i. e. during the 16th century: academic manuscript dissertations can be traced back to its first half, print dissertations evolved during its second half, not only in Germany and France, but also in the Netherlands, and Scandinavia (Freedman 2005, p. 30). “School philosophy” as an institutional practice continued to flourish in spite of the anti-scholastic polemics of the humanists (Schmitt 1988). Still, we do not know much about the history of the genre on a larger scale. This project therefore investigates the holdings of French libraries with regard to this genre of academic text production. It aims to assemble a data set of consolidated metadata that will according to a very conservative estimate comprise at least 5000 titles, probably significantly more. The results of the project will provide a longitudinal view of academic knowledge production and teaching practices as well as insights into the paths of knowledge exchange in Europe. The project is interdisciplinary with regard to its subject matter – academic texts from philosophy, including mathematics and natural science, medicine, law, and theology – as well as its methodology, pursuing research questions at the intersection of book history and the history of knowledge.
Stefan Heßbrüggen-Walter graduated from the University of Münster in 2001 with a thesis on the metaphysics of the faculties in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. He then held various postdoc grants and joined Fernuniversität Hagen (Germany's only state distance teaching university) in 2004. He co-founded the European Society for Early Modern Philosophy (ESEMP) and served as its first secretary between 2004 and 2007. In 2013 he moved to Moscow in order to teach philosophy at a leading Russian university, first as assistant professor, since 2019 as associate professor with tenure. In 2022, he left Russia and then held a visiting professorship in digital humanities at Freie Universität Berlin. His main research interests concern the history of early modern philosophy with a special emphasis on Germany between Melanchthon and Kant as well as the digital humanities.