The Centre for the History of European Discourses was incorporated in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in August 2015.

The information in this website is therefore out of date but retained for archival and staff purposes.


This project will investigate the relations amongst science, naturalism and religion, with a view to determining the nature of their historical interactions.  The framing questions of the project are these:

  • What are the historical connexions between religion and naturalism, and in what sense if any, do they represent opposing tendencies?  Is it possible that religion might contribute to the disenchantment of nature and/or to a naturalistic outlook?
  • What are the historical connexions between ‘science’ and naturalism, and in what ways has the latter been a presupposition for the former?
  • What is the origin of the distinction between the natural and the supernatural, and in what ways is the recognition of this distinction related to the emergence of modern science and innovation thought to characterize the history of modern West?
  • Can’ science’ (natural philosophy, etc.) be defined in terms of naturalistic commitments, and have such commitments always been integral to science?
  • Project activities include an international conference and the publication of an edited collection.

Chief Investigators

  • Professor Peter Harrison, Centre for the History of European Discourses, University of Queensland
  • Professor Jon H. Roberts, Department of History, Boston University


Funding Body

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