The presentation introduces some results of the work on Näther’s currently ongoing research project Smelling the Metropolis. The project is based on the observation that ambient air was a topic of scientific, political and social discourse in the early modern period. Contemporaries observed and debated what constituted air as an element, how it could be polluted and purified – and how it affected human physis and urban life. Even the Great Plague and the cholera pandemic were thought to be closely related to air and air pollution: The presentation will show that this connection was much more extensive and complex than previously thought and was based on the fact that urban ecology and human physiology formed an inseparable unit.
The talk will be followed by a Q&A and is accessible via Zoom only.