The scholar as mediator in the 18th century

University of Laudanne
Organized under the direction of the Swiss Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Scientific committee: Simona Boscani-Leoni (Heidelberg), Marek Bratun (Wroclaw), François Rosset (Lausanne), René Sigrist (Bruxelles), Hubert Steinke (Bern), Nathalie Vuillemin (Neuchâtel)
12.09.2013 - 14.09.2013
Hubert Steinke

The scholar as mediator. Science, religion, education and the state in the 18th century. International conference on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Elie Bertrand (1713-1797)

Elie Bertrand was an important figure of the Swiss Enlightenment. He was not, however, a celebrity like Haller, Tissot, Lavater or Euler, but a significant and very typical exponent of the Republic of Letters as an organizer and animator of the world of knowledge, as a philosopher reflecting on science and the state and as a science educator and disseminator.

His life and works may not be particularly exciting to be studied on a factual, anecdotal level but Bernard's multifold activities as a savant in the realms of enlightened sovereigns or of the protestant church as well as his role in collaborative projects such as academies and encyclopedias take us to the heart of the 18th century culture of knowledge. A reassessment of Bertrand's works in various domains (natural sciences, linguistics, theology, education, translation etc.) should therefore also shed new light on the milieu of the Swiss protestant Republic of Letters and the European network of knowledge.

Bertrand will thus be of special interest to the symposium, yet he is not its central topic: rather, it is the 300th anniversary of his birth that is taken as an occasion to engage with the figure of the scholar as mediator, in Switzerland or elsewhere. Contributions on Bertrand as well as on other scholars and on learned mediation of knowledge are welcome.

Conference format and schedule will be defined according to the number of accepted papers.

Conference languages are English, French, and German.

Please submit a one-page proposal (200-300 words) to
Deadline: January 31, 2013


Simona Boscani-Leoni

Zentrum für Europäische Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften, Heidelberg

The scholar as mediator in the 18th century, 12.09.2013 – 14.09.2013 Lausanne, in: H-Soz-Kult, 11.11.2012, <>.