“Thick description” refers to the layers of meaning, arising from the process of explaining things, which impose themselves between an event and its interpretation.
This also describes the historians’ understanding that we cannot discover an authentic past that is independent of the questions that we, inhabitants of the present, ask about it.
A “thick object” is an object that seems rich in possibilities for interpretation.
Considered carefully, all objects are thick.
I am a PhD graduate of the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto, an Associate of that Institute, and a freelance researcher. I started this blog as a place to discuss my interest in scientific material culture (defined pretty broadly).