Scientific Voyaging: Histories and Comparisons 8-10 July 2008

A three-day international interdisciplinary conference exploring relations between maritime exploration and the sciences in the period from the seventeenth century to the large-scale scientific expeditions of the nineteenth century. Jointly organized by the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, and The Royal Society Venues: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich (8 July) and The Royal Society, London (9 and 10 July) About the Conference The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, in association with the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, and the Royal Society, plan a major international conference to examine relations between maritime exploration and the sciences in the period between the eighteenth-century European entry into the Pacific and journeys in the Americas, and the large-scale scientific expeditions of the nineteenth century and early twentieth centuries. The history of the connections between scientific inquiry and maritime voyaging has undergone a series of important reorientations. Sciences’ global powers are closely linked with the maritime enterprises of the European states, decisive proving ground s for the navigational, physical and natural historical techniques of the scientists and essential means through which data, specimens and personnel were recruited for scientific study in the metropolis. Studies of the principal scientific voyages have hitherto tended to focus quite separately on the Pacific expeditions of the half-century following 1769; on the significance of Alexander von Humboldt’s travels in South America; or else on the more large-scale nineteenth-century projects, such as the US Exploring Expedition (1838-42), the Comisión Cientifica del Pacifico (1862-1866) or the Challenger expedition (1872-1876). But it has not always been possible to see the long-term and comparative relations between successive and between contemporary voyages, so it has been difficult to make sense of the relation between different styles and techniques of travelling science and the marked changes in the nature of maritime experience and of the sciences. The work of mapping and of training was decisive in the forging of sciences and their global extension. This work can sometimes be obscured by studies that rest content with following in the wake of individual voyagers. The conference will therefore encourage study of select locations — a reef, a beach, a harbour, an island — through the experiences of the many residents and visitors who met there over time. Scholars have also often addressed the nature and achievements of the expeditions within strict national boundaries: British, French or Spanish projects have neither frequently nor systematically been juxtaposed. The chronological scope of the conference’s topic, and its international perspective, invites analyses of the differences and connexions between contemporary scientific and maritime projects. Further, the image of science and exploration that focuses too exclusively on the interests and agency of the metropolis has been questioned by studies that bring out indigenous agency. Voyagers relied on, exploited, worked with and concealed the projects and purposes of other experts in the terrains they visited. The conference will address the character and significance of these relations and agents. The aim is to enrich and challenge histories of European expansion and of scientific mastery. Enquiries: Mrs Janet Norton, Research Administrator National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF Tel: 020 8312 6716. Fax: 020 8312 6592 E-mail: [email protected] Web site:

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Conference Programme (from [ ] ) TUESDAY 8 JULY NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM, GREENWICH Opportunity to visit the National Maritime Museum galleries and Royal Observatory, including the Peter Harrison Planetarium 17.00-17.30 Registration and coffee 17.30-18.30 Keynote Address: Professor Joyce Chaplin, Harvard University Science, circumnavigation and modernity 18.30-20.00 Wine reception in the Queen’s House, National Maritime Museum WEDNESDAY 9 JULY THE ROYAL SOCIETY, LONDON (Wellcome Trust Lecture Hall) 09.30-10.00 Registration 10.00-11.00 Dr Jean Fornasiero, University of Adelaide Nicolas Baudin, François Péron and the sciences of discovery (1800 – 03) 11.00-11.30 Coffee 11.30-12.30 Dr Jim Endersby, University of Sussex What does a species look like? 12.30-13.30 Lunch 13.30-14.30 Dr John West-Sooby, University of Adelaide Port Jackson : a periphery for multiple centres 14.30-15.00 Tea 15.00-16.00 Professor Philippe Despoix, University of Montréal Writing, drawing and photographing: inscription techniques and native knowledge in scientific expeditions (1770-19 00) 16.00-17.00 Alistair Sponsel, Princeton University Surveying for a cause: local studies and general theories of the South Sea islands from Resolution to the U.S. Exploring Expedition THURSDAY 10 JULY THE ROYAL SOCIETY, LONDON (Wellcome Trust Lecture Hall) 09.30-10.00 Registration 10.00-11.00 Dr Leoncio López-Ocón and Dr José María Tellado, Instituto De Historia, CSIC, Madrid Circumstances, pursuits and achievements of Spains expedition to the Pacific (1862 – 66) from a comparative perspective 11.00-11.30 Coffee 11.30-12.30 Professor Daniela Bleichmar, University of Southern California Visual voyages: long-distance seeing in the 18th-century Spanish Empire 12.30-14.00 Lunch 14.00-15.00 Dr Luciana Martins, Birkbeck College, University of London Geographical exploration and the elusive mapping of the Amazon 15.00-15.30 Tea 15.30-16.30 Professor Simon Schaffer, University of Cambridge Reflections on history: the long journeys of the sciences 16.30-17.00 General Discussion and Close