Abstracts are invited for papers towards linked panel sessions at the
American Historical Association Annual Meeting (Chicago, January 5-8,
2012). The panels will explore the overarching theme of 'Ethnography,
Ethnology and Science, 1400-1800.'
The historiography of science leaves ethnography and ethnology before the
nineteenth century largely unexploited. This distorts earlier knowledge-
making practices, particularly in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
European observers in distant regions often integrated discussions of human
societies, flora, fauna, climate and natural resources within an all-
encompassing natural history rooted in the traditions of classical antiquity.
These panels will seek to contextualize European attempts to understand
distant peoples within broader investigations of natural history and
cosmography. They might investigate the interconnections between, for
example, the following:
* ethnological ideas and theories of climate;
* animals and humans by way of monstrous peoples;
* practices of empirical ethnographic observation and methods for collecting, describing, organizing and analysing new plants and animals;
* communities and networks of practitioners working on ethnology, natural
history, cosmography and other branches of knowledge.
Also of interest are such issues as the authority of eyewitness testimony, the
changing status of different practitioners, and the part played by scientific
knowledge in shaping ethnology. The overall aim of these panels will be to
re-think the relation between the histories of ethnography and ethnology,
and the history of science, in order to better explain European attempts to
understand the wider world c. 1400-1800.
Scholars who would like to submit an abstract to these sessions should get in
touch with the organizer (Dr Surekha Davies, Birkbeck, University of London,
firstname.lastname@example.org), to express their interest and to discuss possible
submissions, by 1 December 2010. Abstracts and short biographies in line
with the AHA submission requirements would be needed by around 10
January 2011. The deadline for submitting the panels to the AHA is 15
Dr Surekha Davies
Global Dimensions of European Knowledge, 24-5 June, 2011