Maria Florutau

Postdoctoral position at Department of History of Science and Ideas

Visiting address:
Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3P

Postal address:
Box 629
751 26 UPPSALA

Research Interests

I study the transnational historian of European Enlightenment and am particularly interested in decentralising the circulation of knowledge across the continent from Eastern to Western Europe and back during the long eighteenth century, as well understanding the contributory nature of non-European thought on enlightened philosophy and culture.

My current research is part of the 'Early Citizen Science' project run by Prof. Linda Andersson-Burnett ( and focuses on two trajectories of empire building through natural science. In the first half of the fellowship, I am focusing on the concept of prize questions as instructions, looking at the essay competitions organised by Dutch academies and learned societies in the second half of the eighteenth century. In particular, I am interested in the role prize essays played in the development of a Dutch concept of humanity in the context of the Dutch colonial efforts through the activity of the Jakarta-based Batavian Society for Arts and Sciences. In the second half of the fellowship, I will investigate the role that Linnean instructions played in policies of knowledge circulation and power in the Habsburg Empire. Specifically, I aim to examine the refusal of intellectuals in newly conquered Transylvania to receive scientific knowledge and support from the new capital, Vienna, as well as the implications of this refusal on Habsburg empire-building efforts.

My doctoral project investigated a Transylvanian philosopher, József Fogarasi Pap (1744-1784), and his oeuvre of forgotten essays submitted to the prize contests of Dutch and Prussian academies and learned societies. Through this peripheral agent, nevertheless deeply embedded in Republic of Letters, I examined the role of eclecticism in eighteenth century philosophy, the parameters of the prize contest genre and the nature and importance of peripheral regions in investigating the Enlightenment. I am currently revising the thesis for a monograph under contract with Oxford University Press.


DPhil in History, University of Oxford, 2022

MRes in East European Studies, University College London, 2016

BA in History, University College London, 2013

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Maria Florutau