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Koen Vermeir teaches at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and works in the field of the history of science and the history of philosophy. His research has focused on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century natural philosophy, wondrous technologies, and magical thought. He has published articles in diverse books and journals, including the British Journal for the History of Science, Intellectual History Review, and Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, and has edited four books in the history of philosophy and aesthetics.
As a Radcliffe fellow, Vermeir will explore the history of the early modern imagination, wonders, and sympathy. His interdisciplinary approach looks at the cultural history of philosophy, science, medicine, religion, psychology, and aesthetics. He will show how the imagination changed during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries from a decried and magical faculty into an extolled power responsible for sympathy, social cohesion, and aesthetic creativity. He will also write a cultural history of a startling case of divination at the end of the seventeenth century.
Vermeir completed graduate studies in theoretical physics, philosophy, and the history of science at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, the Universiteit Utrecht (the Netherlands), and the University of Cambridge (UK). After being awarded a PhD in philosophy, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, and Harvard University. He was awarded a grant from the Fund for Scientific Research (Flanders) and received fellowships from the Belgian American Educational Foundation, the Francqui Foundation, and the Fulbright Program.