From amazingly colorful antique relics to the attempts to standardize colors in biomedical imaging – color gains in relevance in the sciences. Yet the epistemic role of color, its long-standing neglect due to historic symbolic, in part gendered, ascriptions, and the function of color in visualizations for internal scientific use have not received much attention in the sciences and humanities to date.
The internal use of color in the sciences raises different epistemological questions to those that arise with images for external communication. The choice and symbolism of color in the latter case is guided to a greater degree by a need for simplification and considerations as to the expectations of a broader public. Colored images for internal scientific use emerge during the research process itself (as a medium for self-reflection) or are produced in appliances and used for intersubjective communication and to obtain feedback from the scientific community. Digital publishing has enhanced the use of color in scientific images, in contrast to the costly use of color in print media, whilst the globalization of the scientific community challenges the idea of universal color symbolism. All this raises the need for color awareness.
The history of the ontology of color has already gained some attention in history of science. It is of course not to disentangle from its meaningful use or non-use. Still, the workshop rather focuses on the meaningful application of color and its interpretation by the sciences – and the history of such theorizing. It will explore changing theories on the use and non-use of color, such as those found in the discipline of archaeology, on the color conventions and strategies in scientific images that predominate today as well as in historical perspective and across disciplines. This encompasses the issue of the neglect of color as an object of scientific self-reflection and as an object of the humanities’ research on the sciences. It is consequently possible to trace the ambivalent entanglement of gender and color connotations through the history of the sciences. In brief: in this workshop we invite participants to investigate the epistemic dimensions of color in the sciences, across the disciplines and across history.
Registration until 25th of October via email to Julia Weitzel
For any further question please approach the organiser PD Dr. Bettina Bock von Wülfingen