Tayra Maria Carmen Lanuza-Navarro

Sidney M. Edelstein Fellow, 2010–2011

Tayra M. C. Lanuza-Navarro was trained as a postgraduate in the history of science at the University of Valencia (Spain), where she obtained her Ph.D. in May 2005, with a dissertation on “Astrology, Science and Society in Hapsburgs’ Spain.” She is currently working on a project on early modern alchemical works, with the objective of charting the persecution of these works and of the practitioners of alchemy by the Spanish Inquisition. She also worked as a researcher in the history of early modern science as a doctoral candidate at the University of Valencia (1998–2005), the Vatican Library  in Rome (2003), and the Dibner Library at the Smithsonian Institution (2005). Lanuza was a postdoctoral researcher at Bath Spa University (U.K., 2006, where she studied for a second M.A. on “Cultural Astronomy and Astrology”) and the European University Institute in Florence (2007–2008), and was awarded several predoc and postdoc research fellowships by the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC, the Spanish High Council for Scientific Research), the Valencian Government, and the Smithsonian Institution. Her research has dealt with the history of astronomy and astrology in the 16th and 17th centuries, and she has published several articles about the polemics on astrology in early modern Spain and the role of astrology in the interactions of early modern science, religion, and society.

Lanuza is currently collaborating on a research project of the Instituto de Historia de la Ciencia “López Piñero” (Universitat de València–CSIC) entitled “Scientific and Medical Culture before Its Public: The Representation of Medical and Scientific Practices in the Theatre of the Golden Age of Spanish Literature.” Her participation in the project is focused on the representation of astrology in the plays of the 17th century.

She has also participated in several editions of the annual conference of the History of Science Society, the European  Society for the History of Science, and the British Society for the History of Science, and in the last conference of the Renaissance Society of America. She was a member of the organizing committee of the International Congress Universities and Science in Early Modern Europe (Valencia, 1999) and of the First Meeting for Young Researchers in History of Science (Valencia, 2006), and she also helped organize an exhibition on Darwin at the University of Valencia in 2009.

Current Research

This project aims to study the actual attitude of the Spanish Inquisition toward alchemy through an analysis of the contents of alchemical works that circulated in early modern Spain, combined with the examination of inquisitorial trials of men who were accused of practicing alchemy.

The work while at CHF will focus on particular aspects of this project, such as the study of the inquisitorial censorship of the Theatrum Chemicum and the several alchemical works that it included, as well as the study of the alchemical works at CHF that were persecuted or censored or that appeared in the inquisitorial trials of alchemists and astrologers during the early modern period.

This work is part of a wider project that aims to study the actual attitude of the Spanish Inquisition toward astrology and alchemy through an analysis of inquisitorial trials of men accused of being astrologers or of practicing alchemy, in order to identify accusations against specific people, and the contents that caused certain astrological and alchemical texts to be forbidden or expurgated.