As Janson-LaPalme Scholar-in-Residence during the 2023 Spring semester, Pamela O. Long has enriched teaching and scholarship at Princeton through a workshop, a hands-on class demonstration, and a conference.
"I learned so much from everyone," said Long, "including the graduate students in the one-day workshop and the participants in the two-day conference on machines. What turned out to be great about both is that scholars from very different disciplines - from French and English literature to history, to art and architectural history had substantive discussions from their own points of view. People met and made connections who had not known each other before."
A&A Chair Professor Rachael Z. DeLue said, "It was such a pleasure hosting Pamela this semester. Not only is she a distinguished scholar, but a generous one, and she made substantial contributions to both research and teaching in the department — through class visits, a graduate student workshop, and an international conference. Everyone involved learned a tremendous amount not just about the subjects of her research but about how to approach a scholarly problem or question in a way that is both historically sound and delightfully imaginative. I’ve been writing about the scientific instruments Alexander von Humboldt brought with him on his travels to the Americas in the early 1800s, and being in conversation with Pamela these last few months has helped me think about how Humboldt conceived of his instruments as active agents in his scientific work. I’m pretty sure everyone she came into contact with had a similarly generative experience!"
"Not only is she a distinguished scholar, but a generous one, and she made substantial contributions to both research and teaching in the department. Everyone involved learned a tremendous amount not just about the subjects of her research but about how to approach a scholarly problem or question in a way that is both historically sound and delightfully imaginative."
– Professor Rachael DeLue
Long is an independent historian of late medieval and early modern history, technology, science, and culture. Her work focuses on artisanal writings and culture, the relationships of making and knowing, the history of engineering in Rome, the history of technology before 1600, and the history of machines and their images. She has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, a fellow of the John D. and Catherine C. MacArthur Foundation, a fellow of the Center for the Advanced Study of the Arts at the National Gallery in Washington, DC, of the Guggenheim Foundation, of the Getty Institute and of the Folger Library. Her books include Openness, Secrecy, Authorship: Technical Arts and the Culture of Knowledge from Antiquity to the Renaissance (2001); Artisan/Practitioners and the Rise of the New Sciences (2011); and Engineering the Eternal City: Infrastructure, Topography, and the Culture of Knowledge in Late Sixteenth-Century Rome (2018).
Long’s residency culminated in a two-day conference titled “The Lure of the Machine in Medieval and Early Modern Europe” which brought together scholars from around the globe. Her keynote lecture “Machines between Learning and Practice in Early Modern Europe” explored the overlapping interests and multidisciplinary nature of the early modern fascination with machines. Examining machine drawings and texts from mid-fifteenth to the mid-sixteenth century, Long compared the machine drawings of Francesco di Giorgio and Leonardo da Vinci. She presented machines conceived for various purposes, from construction to warfare.
The conference included four panels featuring scholars from Europe, Israel, and various U.S. institutions; participating from Princeton were A&A’s Professors Samuel Holzman, Carolina Mangone, and Carolyn Yerkes and, from the history department, Professors Mateusz J. Falkowski, Michael D. Gordin, and Anthony Grafton. Virtually every seat was filled in this dynamic, well-attended event.
Earlier in the semester, Long led a graduate workshop on text and image in the early modern world.
Co-organized by A&A graduate students Anna Speyart and John White, the workshop brought together 10 graduate students from five departments to present informal research findings, with graduate students from additional departments in attendance.
Among the presenters were A&A's Wenjie Su, Olek Musial, Sharifa Lookman, and John White. “Students benefited from open, interdisciplinary discussions after each presentation,” said White.
Long also presented her own evolving research on a Vitruvian crane and guided a discussion on the nature and interaction of text and image across the many topics and traditions covered throughout the day.
Professor Carolyn Yerkes’ course “Siegecraft: Architecture, Warfare, and Media” also benefitted from Long’s expertise. Among the highlights of the semester, Long presented a machine integral to sieges: the trebuchet. "Students in the seminar made models of trebuchets and they did trials in the hall!" explained Long.
"It was a pleasure and an honor to be part of the Department of Art and Archaeology this semester," said Long. "I learned a tremendous amount from everyone."
"It was a pleasure and an honor to be part of the Department of Art and Archaeology this semester. I learned a tremendous amount from everyone."
– Pamela O. Long
The Robert Janson-La Palme *76 Visiting Professorship and Conference was endowed in 2002 in honor of Robert Janson-La Palme by his mother-in-law, Mrs. Lillian Marks. Robert Janson-La Palme, professor emeritus of art history at Washington College in Maryland, received his B.A. from Brown University in 1952 and his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1976, studying under Professors Millard Meiss and John Rupert Martin. This endowment was established to bring a visiting scholar and teacher of national and international stature to Princeton to teach and conduct other scholarly activities, primarily at the graduate level, in European art of the period 1200–1800 A.D.