Ann Blair

Ann Blair

Fellow: Awarded 2014
Field of Study: Intellectual and Cultural History

Competition: US & Canada

Harvard University

Ann Blair is Henry Charles Lea Professor of History at Harvard University, where she teaches courses on book history, science and religion, and early modern Europe (with an emphasis on France). She has served as Director of Undergraduate Studies and was named Harvard College Professor in 2009 in recognition of her dedication to teaching.

Blair is the author of The Theater of Nature: Jean Bodin and Renaissance Science (Princeton UP, 1997), and Too Much To Know: managing scholarly information before the modern age (Yale UP, 2010). She has co-edited, with Jennifer Milligan, “Toward a Cultural History of Archives”, a special issue of Archival Science (2007) and, with Richard Yeo, “Note-Taking in Early Modern Europe,” a special issue of Intellectual History Review (2010). She and Leah Price also organized two conferences at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study: Why Books in 2010 and Take Note 2012. Blair’s research focuses on methods of intellectual work among humanist scholars and authors ca. 1500–1700, which she also compares with those of other times and places. She has studied, for example, methods of reading and note-taking as taught in Latin schools, and practices of composing and using reference works and finding devices.

In March 2014 Blair delivered the Rosenbach Lectures in Bibliography at the University of Pennsylvania on the role of amanuenses and the mostly hidden helpers who worked with authors and scholars in early modern Europe. With the support of the Guggenheim Foundation she will be on leave in 2014–2015 at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study completing a book on this topic.

Profile photograph courtesy of the New York Times

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