Kelly J. WhitmerAug 30, 2015
The Halle Orphanage as Scientific Community
Observation, Eclecticism, and Pietism in the Early Enlightenment
University of Chicago Press 2015
Kelly J. Whitmer's new book offers a history of science set in the Halle Orphanage, a building that was founded in the middle of the 1690s in the Prussian city of Halle by a group of German Lutherans known as Pietists. The Halle Orphanage as Scientific Community: Observation, Eclecticism, and Pietism in the Early Enlightenment (University of Chicago Press, 2015) understands this orphanage as a scientific community, thereby countering a tendency to approach the history of science in a way that treats science and religion and distinct and oppositional endeavors, and problematizing previous ways of understanding the space as an enclave of Pietists who were "enthusiastically opposed to rational approaches to knowing the natural world, and to science and the Enlightenment more generally." As the fascinating story unfolds, Whitmer's account meaningfully contributes to histories of observation, material culture, models and modeling, and education.