William Clark Bibliography

WILLIAM CLARK (1953-2017)


Compiled by Alix Cooper (Stony Brook University, USA) and Wolf Feuerhahn (CNRS/Centre Alexandre Koyré, Paris)


Clark, William. Academic Charisma and the Origins of the Research University. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Tracing the transformation of early modern academics into modern researchers from the Renaissance to Romanticism, Academic Charisma and the Origins of the Research University uses the history of the university and reframes the “Protestant Ethic” to reconsider the conditions of knowledge production in the modern world.William Clark argues that the research university—which originated in German Protestant lands and spread globally in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—developed in response to market forces and bureaucracy, producing a new kind of academic whose goal was to establish originality and achieve fame through publication. With an astonishing wealth of research, Academic Charisma and the Origins of the Research University investigates the origins and evolving fixtures of academic life: the lecture catalogue, the library catalog, the grading system, the conduct of oral and written exams, the roles of conversation and the writing of research papers in seminars, the writing and oral defense of the doctoral dissertation, the ethos of “lecturing with applause” and “publish or perish,” and the role of reviews and rumor. This is a grand, ambitious book that should be required reading for every academic.  (publisher’s description)

Becker, Peter and William Clark, eds. Little Tools of Knowledge: Historical Essays on Academic and Bureaucratic Practices. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2001.

This volume brings historians of science and social historians together to consider the role of “little tools”—such as tables, reports, questionnaires, dossiers, index cards—in establishing academic and bureaucratic claims to authority and objectivity.

From at least the eighteenth century onward, our science and society have been planned, surveyed, examined, and judged according to particular techniques of collecting and storing knowledge. Recently, the seemingly self-evident nature of these mundane epistemic and administrative tools, as well as the prose in which they are cast, has demanded historical examination.

The essays gathered here, arranged in chronological order by subject from the late seventeenth to the late twentieth century, involve close readings of primary texts and analyses of academic and bureaucratic practices as parts of material culture. The first few essays, on the early modern period, largely point to the existence of a “juridico-theological” framework for establishing authority. Later essays demonstrate the eclipse of the role of authority per se in the modern period and the emergence of the notion of “objectivity.”

Most of the essays here concern the German cultural space as among the best exemplars of the academic and bureaucratic practices described above. The introduction to the volume, however, is framed at a general level; the closing essays also extend the analyses beyond Germany to broader considerations on authority and objectivity in historical practice.

The volume will interest scholars of European history and German studies as well as historians of science.  (publisher’s description)

Clark, William, Jan Golinski, & Simon Schaffer, eds. The Sciences in Enlightened Europe.  Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1999.

Radically reorienting our understanding of the Enlightenment, this book explores the complex relations between “enlightened” values and the making of scientific knowledge. Here monsters and automata, barometers and botanical gardens, polite academies and boisterous clubs are all given their due place in the landscape of enlightened Europe.

The contributors examine the production of new disciplines through work with instruments and techniques; consider how institutions of public taste and conversation helped provide a common frame for the study of human and nonhuman natures; and explore the regional operations of scientific culture at the geographical fringes of Europe.

Implicated in the rise of both fascism and liberal secularism, the moral and political values that shaped the Enlightenment remain controversial today. Through careful scrutiny of how these values influenced and were influenced by the concrete practices of its sciences, this book gives us an entirely new sense of the Enlightenment.  (publisher’s description)


Clark, William. “Les trois épreuves de la quête du diplôme en Europe.” Trans. Aurélien Berra. In Christian Jacob, ed.  Lieux de savoir. Espaces et communautés, pp. 77-98. Paris: Albin Michel, 2007.

Clark, William. “Die Politik der Ontologie.” Trans. Martin Dehli. In Michael Hagner & Manfred Laublichler, eds. Der Hochsitz des Wissens: das Allgemeine als wissenschaftlicher Wert, pp. 97-127. Zürich: Diaphanes, 2007.

William Clark legt seiner Analyse die These von Levinas und Derrida zugrunde, wonach Ontologie als prima philosophia eine Philosophie der Gewalt und Tyrannei darstelle. Daran anschließend knüpft er die Frage, wo in der Philosophiegeschichte eine solche Metaphysik als Ontologie proklamiert worden ist. Es gab sie bei Aristoteles – aber nur, wenn man der Lesart des Altphilologen Werner Jaeger folgt. Es gab sie in der deutschen Schulmetaphysik des 18. Jahrhunderts als diejenige Grundwissenschaft, die die allgemeinen Aspekte des Seienden behandelte – aber nur, um von Kant in seiner kritischen Philosophie erledigt zu werden. Und es gab sie bei Martin Heidegger, der in der berühmten Davoser Disputation mit Ernst Cassirer die These vertrat, dass ausgerechnet Kant nach einer allgemeinen Ontologie als Metaphysik gestrebt habe. Wie verzerrt eine solche Deutung der Kant’schen Kritik als Fundamentalontologie auch sein mag, ihr geistesgeschichtlicher Hintergrund ist offensichtlich. Heidegger mochte sich nicht damit abfinden, dass die allgemeinen Eigenschaften des Seienden mit dem Fortschritt der Wissenschaften seit dem 19. Jahrhundert nur noch diesen zu untersuchen vorbehalten bleiben sollten. Kronzeuge dieser Entwicklung war für ihn der Neukantianismus (also auch Cassirer), der die Philosophie in eine exakte Wissenschaft umformen wollte und zugleich liberale politische Ansichten vertrat. Was dabei nach Heidegger verloren ging, war das Allgemeine, »seine eigene Bestimmtheit, Notwendigkeit und spezifische Fassbarkeit«. Um es zu bewahren, musste die Philosophie sich als Fundamentalontologie verstehen. Für Clark ist diese Interpretation eng mit Heideggers Engagement für den Nationalsozialismus verbunden, oder genauer: Er glaubt, dass Heideggers philosophischer Gewaltakt ebenso wie die nationalsozialistische Bewegung auf die gleiche historische Konstellation reagieren, die man im weitesten Sinne als Untergang der Metaphysik beschreiben könnte.  (article abstract)

Clark, William. “Einsteins Haar.” Trans. Michael Adrian. In Michael Hagner, ed. Einstein on the Beach. Der Physiker als Phänomen, pp. 15-39. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 2005.  Republished in Michael Hagner & Christoph Hoffmann, eds. Nach Feierabend: Materialgeschichten, pp. 203-228. Zürich: Diaphanes, 2018.

Clark, William. “On the Professorial Voice.” Science in Context 16, 1/2 (2003): 43-57.  doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0269889703000693.  Revised version in Academic Charisma in ch. 11: “Academic Voices and the Ghost in the Machine.”

Much recent research has established the importance of visualization in modern science. This essay treats, instead, of the continued importance of the aural and oral: the professorial voice. The professor remains important for science since so many scientists still instantiate this persona and, as is here argued, a “voice” constitutes an essential feature of it. The form of the essay reflects its contents. From the Middle Ages until well into the modern era, the archetypal professorial genre was the disputation, an oral event recast in written form. Apropos of the traditional disputation, this essay begins with a disquisition more or less to the point. It concerns Nietzsche’s first major publication, which violated norms for the proper professorial voice, thus accelerated the destruction of his academic career. The essay then presents six theses on the professorial voice.The theses treat relevant aspects of the professorial voice from the Sophists onward. It is argued, in Weberian terms, that the professorial voice or persona embodies elements of charismatic and traditional authority which coexist with and condition the rational authority or “objectivity” of science.  (article abstract)


Clark, William. “The Pursuit of the Prosopography of Science.” In Roy Porter, ed. The Cambridge History of Science, vol. 4: Eighteenth-Century Science, pp. 211-237. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.  doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521572439.010

Clark, William. “From Enlightenment to Romanticism: Lichtenberg & Göttingen Physics.” In Nicolaas Rupke, ed. Göttingen and the Development of the Natural Sciences, pp. 72-85. Göttingen: Wallstein, 2002.

Becker, Peter, & Clark, William. “Introduction.” In Peter Becker & William Clark, eds. Little Tools of Knowledge: Historical Essays on Academic and Bureaucratic Practices, pp. 1-34.  Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2001.

Clark, William. “On the Ministerial Registers of Academic Visitations.” In Peter Becker & William Clark, eds. Little Tools of Knowledge: Historical Essays on Academic and Bureaucratic Practices, pp. 95-140.  Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2001.  Revised version in Academic Charisma in ch. 9: “Academic Babble and Ministerial Machinations” and ch. 10: “Ministerial Hearing and Academic Commodification.”

Clark, William. “On the Bureaucratic Plots of the Research University.” In Marina Frasca-Spada & Nicholas Jardine, eds. Books and the Sciences in History, pp. 190-206.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Revised version in Academic Charisma in ch. 8: “The Library Catalogue.”

Clark, William. “Parades académiques: contribution à l’économie politique des Livrets universitaires.” Trans. Marielle Aujollet. Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales, 135 (Dec. 2000): 6-24.  doi: https://doi.org/10.3406/arss.2000.2697.  Revised version in Academic Charisma in ch. 2: “The Lecture Catalogue.”

This paper attempts to illuminate parts of the academic unconscious through a study of the lecture catalogue. The analysis is confined essentially to early modern lecture catalogues from German-language universities. There are three aspects to the analysis. First, the lecture catalogue is analyzed in terms of academic “manners”: what does the lecture catalogue tell us about how academics conceived themselves? The second and third aspects of the analysis place academia in the context of state and society. Thus, secondly, the lecture catalogue is analyzed in terms of governmental “ministry”: what does the lecture catalogue tell us about how ministries of state endeavored to police and control academics? Finally, thirdly, the lecture catalogue is analyzed in terms of entrepreneurial “markets”: what does the lecture catalogue tell us about the relation of academics to the marketing of knowledge? (article abstract)

Clark, William. “Der Untergang der Astrologie in der deutschen Barockzeit.” In Hartmut Lehmann & Anne-Charlott Trepp, eds. Im Zeichen der Krise: Religiösität im Europa des 17. Jahrhundert, pp. 433-472. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1999.

Clark, William. “On the Table Manners of Academic Examination.” In Hans-Erich Bödeker, Peter Reill, & Jürgen Schlumbohm, eds. Wissenschaft als kulturelle Praxis: 1750-1900, pp. 33-67. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1999.  Revised version in Academic Charisma in ch. 4: “The Examination.”

Clark, William, Jan Golinski, & Simon Schaffer. “Introduction.” In William Clark, Jan Golinski, & Simon Schaffer, eds. The Sciences in Enlightened Europe, pp. 3-31. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1999.

Clark, William. “The Death of Metaphysics in Enlightened Prussia.” In William Clark, Jan Golinski, & Simon Schaffer, eds. The Sciences in Enlightened Europe, pp. 423-473. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1999.

Clark, William. “Commentary to papers by Michael Dettelbach, Roger Hahn and Hans Peter Reill.” In Johan van der Zande and Richard H. Popkin, eds. The Skeptical Tradition Around 1800: Skepticism in Philosophy, Science, and Society, pp. 213-8. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, 1998.

Clark, William. “German Physics Textbooks in the Goethezeit.” History of Science 35, 2 (1997): 219–239 and 35, 3(1997): 295–363.

Part 1 : https://doi.org/10.1177/007327539703500204

Part 2 : https://doi.org/10.1177/007327539703500302

Clark, William. “On the Ministerial Archive of Academic Acts.” Science in Context 9, 4 (1996): 412–486.  doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S026988970000257X.  Revised version in Academic Charisma in ch. 7: “The Appointment of a Professor.”

Using a pernicious Foucaultian reading of Weber’s rationalization theories, 1 endeavor in this essay to illuminate academic acts as kept in the Brandenburg- Prussian state archive in Berlin, with some comparison to others, chiefly those in the Bavarian state archive in Munich. The essay concerns the microtechniques of marking, collecting and keeping records, and the form and content of archives of academic acts — interesting for the reason that paperwork circumscribes the state ministry’s ability to recollect academic acts and hence its power and knowl- edge over academics. I consider mostly acts relating to the early modern “Arts and Philosophy Faculty,” which corresponds more or less to the present-day “Division of Arts, Letters and Sciences.” The transformation, traced from the Baroque to the Romantic era, is understood as a process of “ministerial-market rationalization” of German academia: I try to show how central German minis- tries, as reflected in archival acts, altered the academic persona to suit themselves and the market, and how professorial appointments were rationalized accordingly.  (article abstract)

Clark, William. “Narratology and the History of Science.” Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 26, 1(1995): 1–71.  doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/0039-3681(94)00029-9

Clark, William. “On the Ironic Specimen of the Doctor of Philosophy.” Science in Context 5, 1(1992): 97–137.  doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0269889700001101.  Revised version in Academic Charisma in ch. 6: “The Doctor of Philosophy.”

The Doctor of Philosophy, a nonmedieval academic figure who spread throughout the globe in the Modern Era, and who emblemized the transformation of academic knowledge into the “pursuit of research,” emerged through a long and tortuous path in the early modern Germanies. The emergence and recognition of the Doctor of Philosophy would be correlative with the nineteenth-century professionalization of the arts and sciences. Throughout the Early Modern Era, the earlier Doctors and older “professional” faculties from the medieval university — Theology, Law, and Medicine — opposed recognition of the Doctor of Philosophy. In Saxony, the forces of “medievalism” were able to block recognition of the Doctor of Philosophy, and they retained the degraded Master of Arts or Philosophy as the highest degree in arts and sciences. Forces of “modernism” prevailed, however, in Austria and Prussia in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In Austria, the Doctor of Philosophy arrived as a wholly modern figure, the creation of a nice dossier and a civil service examination: the medieval “juridical” persona became a modern “bureaucratic” persona. Between this bureaucratic modernism of the Austrians and corporatist medievalism of the Saxons, the Prussians pursued a via media. Unlike the Saxons, they recognized the Doctor of Philosophy; but unlike the Austrians, they did not completely bureaucratize the candidate’s persona. The Prussians demanded from the candidate a “work of research,” a doctoral dissertation, which exhibited the aesthetic qualities of the Romantic artist: originality and personality.  (article abstract)

Clark, William. “The Scientific Revolution in the German Nations.” In Roy Porter & Mikulas Teich, eds. The Scientific Revolution in National Context, pp. 90-114. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.  doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139170215.004

Historia von D. Johann Fausten (Frankfurt-am-Main, 1587) tells the sad story of a Wittenberg alumnus. Faust, an astrologer, a doctor of theology and medicine, who studied night and day, despaired finally of the knowledge in books. He sold his soul to Satan for twenty-four years of real power, in order to fulfil academic male fantasies. But, like a good German, Faust continued working for eight years after the pact. With Mephistopheles he journeyed through the celestial spheres, and from these observations produced the best calendars and prognostications. Through satanic arts, he was able to dominate nature, emblematized by food, peasants and women. He travelled much, and demonstrated his abilities for many audiences, including the imperial court. His fame spread. (In later editions of his Historia, other universities will woo him from Wittenberg.) By magic he feted his colleagues on free food, as if a job search committee were in permanent session. He slept with a new woman every night. But he perished wretchedly, and went to hell.

Faust’s Historia is a German testament to a male intellectual crisis of the early modern era: desire for more power and knowledge over heaven and earth than were contained in the traditional philosophy’s books. That is the motif for my analysis of the Scientific Revolution, which has this structure: instruments and experimentalism; mathematics and heliocentrism; mechanica mundi et harmonia mundi. (article abstract)

Clark, William. “On the Dialectical Origins of the Research Seminar.” History of Science 27 (1989): 111-154. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/007327538902700201.  Revised version in Academic Charisma in ch. 5: “The Research Seminar.”


Clark, William. “The Misogyny of Scholars.” Perspectives on Science 1, 2 (1993): 342–57.

Clark, William. “Poetics for Scientists.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 23 (1992): 181-192.  doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/0039-3681(92)90030-A


Clark, William. “Hans Radder (Ed.) The Commodification of Academic Research: Science and the Modern University.” Isis 102, 3 (Sept. 2011): 590-591.  doi: https://doi.org/10.1086/663067

Clark, William. “Jeremy Schmidt. Melancholy and the Care of the Soul: Religion, Moral Philosophy, and Madness in Early Modern England.” Isis 99, 3 (Sept. 2008): 626-627.  doi: https://doi-org.inshs.bib.cnrs.fr/10.1086/593249

Clark, William. “David John Frank; Jay Gabler: Reconstructing the University: Worldwide Shifts in Academia in the Twentieth Century.” Isis 98, 4 (Dec. 2007): 870-871.  doi: https://doi-org.inshs.bib.cnrs.fr/10.1086/529331

Clark, William. “Roger Berkowitz: The Gift of Science: Leibniz and the Modern Legal Tradition,” Isis 97, 4 (Dec. 2006): 745-746.  doi: https://doi-org.inshs.bib.cnrs.fr/10.1086/512878


Clark, William.  “From the Medieval Universitas Scholarium to the German Research University: A Sociogenesis of the Germanic Academic.”  Ph.D. dissertation, University of California at Los Angeles, 1986.  Advisors: Robert S. Westman and M. Norton Wise.