Professor Michael Wintroub. Photo by Camilla K. Elmar / CASWe are delighted to give the floor to Michael Wintroub, professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

This autumn, Wintroub has been a fellow of the CAS project The Body in Translation: Historicising and Reinventing Medical Humanities and Knowledge Translation.

He's recent research interests include the history of science, early modern cultural history, and cross-cultural contact, amongst others.

Wintroub received the 2018 BSHS Pickstone Prize for his book The Voyage of Thought: Navigating Knowledge across the Sixteenth-Century World.



How does one credit someone or something as reliable and trustworthy? By what measure can honesty be adjudicated and dishonesty punished? How can one confidently approach strangers who cannot be vouchsafed by any accepted criteria of reliability and trustworthiness?  What is the measure of trust and how might it be maintained?  The 1529 Voyage of Jean Parmentier from Northern France to Sumatra will guide us as we pursue the practices, skills, and improvisations that constitute the precarious balance between trust and betrayal, profit and loss, life and death.  By following the trajectory of Parmentier’s ships as they crossed perilous waters to meet and trade with unknown peoples on the other side of the world, we will encounter and try to understand the strategies he employed to negotiate trust, whether between officers and crew, ships and seas, or French merchants and Minangkabau spice traders.