Photo of Bart Karstens
  • De Boelelaan 1081 WN Gebouw, Room U252

    1081 HV Amsterdam


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Personal profile

Personal information

I am a postdoctoral research fellow at the Vrije Universiteit in colloboration with the Vossius Center (UvA) in the project 'The Flow of Cognitive Goods. Towards a Postdisciplinary Historiography of Knowledge'. The aim of the project is to gain a deeper understanding of the relations between different scientific disciplines by looking at the way they have exchanged so-called 'cognitive goods': an umbrella term for almost anything that can move around i.e. concepts, metaphors, methods, models, instruments, etc. In the context of this project I trace the trajectory that the concepts of 'structure' and 'structuralism' have traversed through various academic specialties in the 19th and 20th centuries.

From 2014-2016 I was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Amsterdam Center for Law and Economics in collaboration with the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (both UvA) on the Digging into Data Challenge award winning project 'Legal Structures'. The project has yielded a tool to parse legal texts, another tool to represent network structures of legal texts and a network analysis of the specific networks structures that were obtained. My main contribution to this joint project was the network analysis for which I used R packages and GEPHI.

In 2015 I defended my dissertation  at Leiden University titled 'Pluralism within Parameters. Towards a Mature Evaluative Historiography of Science'. In the dissertation I defend a radically comparative interpretation of 'wrong' and 'right'. I also argue that this interpretation can fruitfully serve as a basis for evaluations of past science, which have almost entirely disappeared from historiographical practice.

In 2009 I graduated cum laude from the research master in history of science (Descartes Centre, Utrecht University) with a thesis on the 19th century linguist Franz Bopp. On the basis of this case study I have developed an interpretation of discipline formation as a process of hybridization which is published here. In 2003 I obtained a master's degree (old drs. style) in Artificial Intelligence with a specialisation in Computational Linguistics and Logic.

Currently I serve as an executive officer of the Society for the History of Humanities and as a managing editor of the journal History of Humanities. Within the Vossius Center I coordinate the Vossius Circle for the History of Linguistics. I have recently become a member of the board of the series 'History and Philosophy of the Language Sciences' that is published by Language Science Press (Berlin).

I have taught courses at both BA and MA level at the Insitute of History (Utrecht), Philosophy (Leiden), International Studies (Leiden, Campus The Hague), Law (UvA), Economics (UvA), Artificial Intelligence (UvA), Computer Science (UvA) and Information Studies (UvA). I have also supervised Bachelor and Master theses and currently act as a co-promotor in three dissertation projects. 


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Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

psychology Earth & Environmental Sciences
nineteenth century Earth & Environmental Sciences
history Earth & Environmental Sciences
History Arts & Humanities
Testing Engineering & Materials Science
science Earth & Environmental Sciences
Rhizome Arts & Humanities
Rhythm Arts & Humanities

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Research Output 2003 2019

Franz Bopp

Karstens, B., 2019, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Linguistics.

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionaryAcademicpeer-review

The Impact of Russian Formalism on Linguistic Structuralism

Karstens, B., 2019, (Accepted/In press) Form and Formalism in Linguistics. McElvenny, J. (ed.). Berlin: Language Science Press

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

Open Access

How System Became a Vice

Karstens, B., 2018

Research output: Contribution to ConferencePaperAcademic

Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn: Historical Figures with Future Significance

Karstens, B., 2018, In : Isis. 109, 2, p. 360-364

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access

"The Lonely Form Dies”: How Epistemic Virtues Connect Roman Jakobson’s New Science of Language and His Personality

Karstens, B., 2017, Epistemic Virtues in the Sciences and Humanities. van Dongen, J. & Paul, H. (eds.). Springer/Verlag, p. 149-171 (Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science ; vol. 321)

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

Activities 2012 2017

  • 3 Lecture / Presentation

Privacy: fundamenteel recht of onderhandelbaar goed?

Karstens, B. (Speaker)
30 Oct 2017

Activity: Lecture / PresentationPopular

Grenzen aan Liefdadigheid?

Karstens, B. (Speaker)
5 Nov 2013

Activity: Lecture / PresentationProfessional

Niets Nodig. Een Vergelijking tussen Niets Cadeau en het Absurdisme

Karstens, B. (Speaker)
12 Apr 2012

Activity: Lecture / PresentationProfessional