Dr. Richard Raiswell co-edits two new books

UPEI history professor’s work explores evidence in early science and the roles of demons and spirits in the lives of early modern Europeans
Posted: 
Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Dr. Richard Raiswell, an associate professor of history at UPEI, has co-edited two new books. Knowing Demons, Knowing Spirits in the Early Modern Period (co-edited with Michelle Brock and David Winter) is published by Palgrave. Evidence in the Age of the New Sciences (co-edited with James Lancaster) is published by Springer.

From the publisher’s website, on Knowing Demons, Knowing Spirits:

“This book explores the manifold ways of knowing—and knowing about—preternatural beings such as demons, angels, fairies, and other spirits that inhabited and were believed to act in early modern European worlds. Its contributors examine how people across the social spectrum assayed the various types of spiritual entities that they believed dwelled invisibly but meaningfully in the spaces just beyond (and occasionally within) the limits of human perception. Collectively, the volume demonstrates that an awareness and understanding of the nature and capabilities of spirits—whether benevolent or malevolent—was fundamental to the knowledge-making practices that characterize the years between ca. 1500 and 1750. This is, therefore, a book about how epistemological and experiential knowledge of spirits persisted and evolved in concert with the wider intellectual changes of the early modern period, such as the Protestant Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, and the Enlightenment.”

On Evidence in the Age of the New Sciences, publisher Springer writes:

“The motto of the Royal Society—Nullius in verba—was intended to highlight the members’ rejection of received knowledge and the new place they afforded direct empirical evidence in their quest for genuine, useful knowledge about the world. But while many studies have raised questions about the construction, reception and authentication of knowledge, Evidence in the Age of the New Sciences is the first to examine the problem of evidence at this pivotal moment in European intellectual history. What constituted evidence—and for whom? Where might it be found? How should it be collected and organized? What is the relationship between evidence and proof? These are crucial questions, for what constitutes evidence determines how people interrogate the world and the kind of arguments they make about it.

“In this important new collection, Lancaster and Raiswell have assembled twelve studies that capture aspects of the debate over evidence in a variety of intellectual contexts. From law and theology to geography, medicine and experimental philosophy, the chapters highlight the great diversity of approaches to evidence-gathering that existed side by side in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In this way, the volume makes an important addition to the literature on early science and knowledge formation, and will be of particular interest to scholars and advanced students in these fields.”

“I congratulate Dr. Raiswell on his extraordinary scholarly achievement; the two books he co-edited will certainly raise the profile of UPEI and the Faculty of Arts in particular,” said Dr. Neb Kujundzic, dean of the Faculty of Arts at UPEI.

Congratulations, Dr. Raiswell!

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