Judith Kaplan

Position title: William Coleman Dissertation Fellow (2010-2011)

History of Science, UW-Madison

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Linguistic and Orientalist Research in Germany, 1875-1918

This is a dissertation project that considers developments in German-sponsored historical and comparative linguistics around the turn of the twentieth century from the perspective of the history of science. Of principle concern to the project is an observed shift in methodological emphasis during the late nineteenth century from ancient textual to contemporary spoken sources of linguistic data. Material and ideological motives behind this transition are highlighted in the biography of Friedrich Carl Andreas (1846-1930), an Iranist whose research on the diffusion of Middle Persian writing systems bore the layered imprint of centuries of political, economic, and religious efforts to control the lands comprising Germany’s Orient. Paying crucial attention to sites of knowledge production – from journals of emerging linguistic specializations, to fieldwork in the British Regency of the Persian Gulf, Berlin’s Seminar für Oriental Sprache, and POW camps during the First World War –this research ultimately seeks to understand constant processes of accommodation between evolving linguistic methodologies, on the one hand, and the explosion of historical materials, on the other.

Judy Kaplan is a PhD Candidate in the Department of the History of Science at the University of Wisconsin Madison. She holds a Master of Arts degree from that program as well as a Masters of Science from the University of Illinois in Disability Studies. In addition to several internal fellowships, she was a recipient of a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant in 2009. Recently, she has presented papers at workshops organized by the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Chicago and Berlin.