Mapping the Territory: Exploring People and Nature, 1700-1830

21.09.2017 to 23.09.2017 Add to calendar

This conference aims to analyse the exploration and “invention” of territories in a comparative perspective. Following the findings of historians emphasising the social and cultural practices around early modern natural history the focus will be on collecting and exchanging, measuring and classifying information on territories of different scope. Thus, we are interested in discussing how various interests and means enabled the production of new forms of knowledge.

Thursday 21 September 2017


Welcome and Introduction Simona Boscani Leoni

Keynote Speech: Revisiting Local Knowledge and the Indigenous in Eighteenth-Century Natural History: A Few Thoughts Alix Cooper, Stony Brook University, New York

Mapping the Americas


Unstable Natural Knowledge Production: The Malaspina Expedition at the Edges of Spanish Colonial America (1789/1793 Marcelo Figueroa, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán / CONICET

Inalienable Truths: ‘Indian’ Informers in the Study of Spanish American Territory, ca. 1770-1900 Stefanie Gänger, Universität zu Köln


Change and Continuity: The Bureaucracy of Knowledge in South America Irina Podgorny, Universidad Nacional de La Plata / CONICET

Enlightenment, Empire and Ethnology: Prince Maximilian Wied-Neuwied’s Expeditions to the New World Peter Hanns Reill, University of California, Los Angeles

Friday, 22 September 2017

Mapping Europe


Knowing Flora Near and Far: Accumulating Knowledge on Plants in 18th-Century Zurich Meike Knittel, Universität Bern

Mapping the Domestic Indigenous: Linnaeus and Instructed Travel in Sápmi and the Scottish Highlands, c. 1730-1800 Linda Burnett Andersson, Linnaeus University, Växjö and Kalmar


Inventing the Healthy Alps: Farmers, Physicians and the Swiss Whey Cure of the 18th Century Barbara Orland, Universität Basel

In Aspero Solo. Antonio Vallisneri's Manuscript Primi Itineris per Montes Specimen Physico-Medicum (1705) Franceso Luzzini, MPIWG Berlin


Mapping Territories through Questionnaires: Some Observations about a Genre Simona Boscani Leoni, Universität Bern

Social Anthropology avant la lettre: The Perspective of Economic Enlightenment on Traditional Uses in Wetlands Martin Stuber, Universität Bern


The Role of the Idea of Context in Luigi Ferdinando Marsili’s Conception of Natural History Marta Cavazza, Università di Bologna

Questionnaires, Parish Registers and Price Competitions: The Zurich Physical Society's Sources and Methods for Surveying the Territory Sarah Baumgartner, Universität Bern

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Mapping Asia


Discovering China: James Cuninghame’s Practices of Knowledge Production in Amoy (1698) and Chusan (1700-03) Richard Coulton, Charles Jarvis, Queen Mary University / Natural History Museum, London

The Canal of Zabeta Khan: Mapping Landscapes, Mapping History Pratik Chakrabarti, University of Manchester


Creation of ‘Scientific’ Knowledge and the Colonial Exploration of the Himalaya, 1780- 1850 Chetan Singh, Indian Institute of Advanced Study

Making Governance Work: Paper and Natural History in the Early Nineteenth Century Dutch Empire Andreas Weber, University of Twente


Conference Wrap-Up Kaspar von Greyerz, Universität Basel

Event organizer: 
Prof. Simona Boscani Leoni (SNF-Projekt "Kulturen der Naturforschung")
Universität Bern
Hallerstrasse 6, Room 205
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