The Early Modern Commons

Res Obscura

Recent Posts

How to Write the History of Science?

3 February 2016

Metallurgist testing a new alloy from New Frontiers in Science (1964), a vintage textbook I bought from a retired science teacher in Austin, TX a few years ago.  Is the history...

The Alchemy of Madness: Understanding a Seventeenth-Century "Brain Scan"

17 December 2015

The image above is a detail from a remarkable 1620 engraving I first came across this past summer. It shows a man sliding another figure into what looks like an old-fashioned oven -...

Why Did Seventeenth-Century Europeans Eat Mummies?

5 December 2015

Brazilian BBQ from Theodor de Bry, America Tertiae Pars (1592). In a previous post, I touched on the phenomenon of "cannibal medicine" in early modern Europe. It turns out that it was...

Introducing the Res Obscura Newsletter

24 October 2014

Hand-colored daguerrotype, c. 1850, "Three Lively Women."After putting Res Obscura on hiatus for over a year so I could work on The Appendix, I've decided to resurrect it as an email...