Deborah Coen

Wisdom RFP Grant Recipient
Assistant Professor

Barnard College

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I am a historian of science and of modern central Europe.

Defining Wisdom Project Description

“Uncertain Ground” has analyzed the development of a paradox: a vernacular, international, scientific language. This language wisely acknowledged the complexity and historicity of geoscientific data such as those collected when earthquakes occurred, which were never fully abstracted from experiential narratives. “Uncertain Ground” argues that the source of this wisdom lay in the sensitivity of Central European researchers to problems of translation—between classes, cultures, and even between species. This research makes it possible to historicize current models of wisdom, particularly of embodied wisdom.

Recent Publications
Vienna in the Age of Uncertainty: Science, Liberalism, and Private LIfe
Coen, Deborah R. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. This book uses the story of an important intellectual family, the Exners, to shed light on the science, politics, intellectual thought, and culture of fin-de-siècle (end of century) Vienna. Coen focuses on the family’s value of uncertainty, contradicting...
Living Precisely in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna
Coen, Deborah R. Journal of the History of Biology 39 (2006): 493-523. Vienna’s Institute of Experimental Biology, better known as the Vivarium, helped pioneer the quantification of experimental biology from 1903 to 1938. Among its noteable scientists were the director Hans Przibram and his brother Karl (a physicist), Paul...
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Barnard College

Current Position

Assistant Professor

Highest Degree

Research Interests

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