For over a decade, eikones, the Center for the Theory and History of the Image at the University of Basel, Switzerland, has been dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of images as instruments of human knowledge and cultural practice. Eikones has been examining the functions and epistemological value of images in different social, aesthetic and scientific contexts. Images are not merely understood as tools that complete certain tasks, but instead as systems of representation that differ from linguistic or mathematical systems because of their particular structure; they thus produce specific forms of knowledge.
The NOMIS Postdoctoral Fellowship Program supports groundbreaking research projects related to how images act as models or paradigms in scientific and aesthetic contexts. In both settings, images often assume an exemplary character, aiding epistemic and learning processes. They fulfill evidential, didactic and symbolic functions, and thereby produce different forms of knowledge. Relevant topics of research might consider, for example, the history and theory of imaging techniques in the natural sciences; the ideals and stereotypes that shape social contexts and political discussions; or the formation and dissolution of canons, iconographies, character types and styles in the arts.
On the methodological side, the NOMIS fellows will be selected from different scientific fields, and reflect on the relationship between their individual discipline and image studies. Sebastian Zeidler and Ingrid Vendrell-Ferran are the first NOMIS fellows; additional fellows will be appointed in September 2018.