Skip to main content

Events

Travel, Science, and the Question of Observation: 1580-1800

General Programming

Cosponsors
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
  • Moore Institute for the Humanities and Social Studies, National University of Ireland, Galway
1662 map of Sergipe, Brazil by Johannes Blaeu

In the early modern period, the emergence of travel as a means of information gathering on natural history, demography, government, and religion was accompanied by the use of questionnaires to orient observation. This conference investigates the development of techniques of information gathering of this kind and the networks on which they relied. Papers address the integral role of travel in the process of scientific exchange as well as to the ways that information itself traveled in British, French, Spanish, and Swedish contexts.

The conference is supported by generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (http://www.mellon.org) and by the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University, with the assistance of the Moore Institute for the Humanities and Social Studies, National University of Ireland, Galway. The “Texts, Contexts, Culture” project is funded under the Higher Education Authority, under PRTLI4.

Watch this conference on Vimeo.

Program

time9:00am - 9:30am EDT

Registration and Welcome

time9:15am - 10:45am EDT

Session 1: Home and Abroad in British Questionnaires

Chair: Eileen Gillooly, Associate Director of the Heyman Center for the Humanities; Elizabeth Yale (Western Carolina University) will give a talk titled, "Preparing the Ground: Topographical Query Lists and the Formation of 'Britain' as an Object of Scientific Study in the Seventeenth Century", Asheesh Siddique (Columbia University) will give a talk titled, "Questionnaires, Paperwork, and the Problem of Governance in the Late Eighteenth-century British Atlantic Enlightenment"

Daniel Carey

Professor of English

National University of Ireland, Galway

Eileen Gillooly

Executive Director

Heyman Center for the Humanities

Elizabeth Yale

Assistant Professor of History

Western Carolina University

Asheesh Siddique

Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Humanities

University of Southern California

time11:00am - 11:30am EDT

Coffee Break

time11:30am - 1:00pm EDT

Session 2: Techniques of Inquiry in the 17th Century

Chair: Alan Stewart (Columbia University), Daniel Carey (National University of Ireland, Galway) will deliver a talk on John Locke’s anthropology of religion – questions and answers, Carl Wennerlind (Barnard College) will deliver a talk titled "Nature’s Secrets Revealed: Urban Hiärne’s Questionnaire and the Restoration of Atlantis"

Alan Stewart

Professor of English and Comparative Literature

Columbia University

Daniel Carey

Professor of English

National University of Ireland, Galway

Carl Wennerlind

Associate Professor of History

Barnard College

time1:00pm - 2:00pm EDT

Lunch

time2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT

Session 3: Enlightenment Agendas

Chair: Dániel Margócsy (Hunter College, CUNY), Nicholas Dew (McGill University) will deliver a talk titled, “A Modell to regulate your Travels by: From Wish List to Expedition in the Early Enlightenment", Matthew Jones (Columbia University) will deliver a talk titled, "Re-inventing the (calculating) Wheel: Imitation, Emulation and Nescience in the Enlightenment"

Dániel Margócsy

Assistant Professor in the Department of History

Hunter College, City Univsersity of New York

Nicholas Dew

Associate Professor of History and Classical Studies

McGill University

Matthew L. Jones

James R. Barker Professor of Contemporary Civilization

Columbia University

time3:30pm - 4:00pm EDT

Coffee Break

time4:00pm - 5:30pm EDT

Session 4: The New World as an Object of Study

Chair: Martin J. Burke (CUNY), Ida Federica Pugliese (Marie Curie Fellow, NUI Galway) will deliver a talk titled, "An Inquiry into the 13 Colonies: Barbé-Marbois’s Queries and French Commercial Strategy During the American War of Independence", Cameron Strang (Penick Scholar, Smithsonian Institution) will deliver a talk titled, "Indian Vocabularies and Un-disciplining Knowledge in the Early United States"

Martin J. Burke

Associate Professor of History and American Studies

The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Ida Federica Pugliese

Marie Curie Fellow

National University of Ireland, Galway

Cameron Strang

Doctoral Student in the Department of History

University of Texas at Austin

time9:00am - 9:15am EDT

Introduction and welcome

time9:15am - 10:45am EDT

Session 5: Travel, Observation and Population

Chair: Lynn Festa (Rutgers University), Ted McCormick (Concordia University) will deliver a talk titled,"Observations that Traveled: Graunt’s Observations and the Uses of Quantification in Cotton Mather’s New England", Joyce Chaplin (Harvard University) will deliver a talk titled, "T.R. Malthus, Travel Literature, and the World’s Populations"

Lynn Festa

Associate Director of Graduate Program and Associate Professor of English

Rutgers University

Ted McCormick

Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director in the Department of History

Concordia University

Joyce Chaplin

James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History

Harvard University

time10:45am - 11:15am EDT

Coffee Break

time11:15am - 1:00pm EDT

Session 6: Early Modern Information Networks

Chair: Maria Portuondo (Johns Hopkins University), Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra (University of Texas at Austin) will deliver a talk titled, "Early Modern Networks and Contingency: Jesuits, Souls, Geopolitics, and Research Projects", Paula Findlen (Stanford University) will deliver a talk titled, "How Information Travels: Lessons From the Early Modern Republic of Letters", Ann Blair (Harvard University) will deliver closing commentary

Maria Portuondo

Associate Professor in the Department of History of Science and Technology

Johns Hopkins University

Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra

Alice Drysdale Sheffield Professor of History

The University of Texas at Austin

Paula Findlen

Ubaldo Pierotti Professor of Italian History

Stanford University

Ann Blair

Henry Charles Lea Professor of History

Harvard University

time1:00pm - 2:30pm EDT

Lunch
Participants
  • Daniel Carey Professor of English National University of Ireland, Galway
  • Eileen Gillooly Executive Director Heyman Center for the Humanities
  • Elizabeth Yale Assistant Professor of History Western Carolina University
  • Asheesh Siddique Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Humanities University of Southern California
  • Alan Stewart Professor of English and Comparative Literature Columbia University
  • Carl Wennerlind Associate Professor of History Barnard College
  • Dániel Margócsy Assistant Professor in the Department of History Hunter College, City University of New York
  • Nicholas Dew Associate Professor of History and Classical Studies McGill University
  • Matthew L. Jones James R. Barker Professor of Contemporary Civilization Columbia University
  • Martin J. Burke Associate Professor of History and American Studies The Graduate Center, City University of New York
  • Ida Federica Pugliese Marie Curie Fellow National University of Ireland, Galway
  • Cameron Strang Doctoral Student in the Department of History University of Texas at Austin
  • Lynn Festa Associate Director of Graduate Program and Associate Professor of English Rutgers University
  • Ted McCormick Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director in the Department of History Concordia University
  • Joyce Chaplin James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History Harvard University
  • Maria Portuondo Associate Professor in the Department of History of Science and Technology Johns Hopkins University
  • Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra Alice Drysdale Sheffield Professor of History The University of Texas at Austin
  • Paula Findlen Ubaldo Pierotti Professor of Italian History Stanford University
  • Ann Blair Henry Charles Lea Professor of History Harvard University