CESTA Seminar | Cooley, Toledano & Yıldırım "Experts, Informants, Environments: Global Nature Studies in a Digital Age"

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

12:00 pm

Bldg. 160, Rm. 433A Map

Sponsored by:
Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA)

What does it mean to create a universal knowledge of nature in an increasingly global age? This paper considers how naturalists aspired to study global nature from 1500 to 1900. During this period, Europeans sought to write a global natural history that categorized the plants and animals they encountered into one unified system of collection and classification. Non-Europeans, such as Ottomans and Mexica, however, had different stories to tell about their own quest in nature. Encounters between European and non-Europeans led these naturalists to cast aside their individual subjecthood while expanding—and challenging—their own perceptions of nature. Using digital tools, this paper proposes new approaches to restoring the centrality of local knowledge to insights abstracted from it. The paper considers geography, networks, and language as lenses through which to both grapple with the globality of this enterprise of knowledge creation and to consider nature studies within and beyond published natural histories. In particular, it seeks to understand how quests for universal knowledge overlapped among different knowledge cultures.

Mackenzie Cooley has recently completed her Ph.D. in the Department of History at Stanford where she studied history of culture and science in the early modern European and Atlantic world. Her dissertation, “Animal Empire: The Perfection of Nature between Europe and the Americas, 1492-1630,” considers the collection and design of living beings in the expanding Renaissance world, with attention to animals, natural history, and knowledge of reproduction. She is currently a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell University and a Digital Humanities Fellow at Stanford.

Anna Toledano is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at Stanford studying history of science. Her dissertation, “Collecting Empire: The Science and Politics of Natural History Museums in New Spain, 1770-1820” focuses on natural history collecting in eighteenth-century Spain and Spanish America. She is also a museum professional.

Duygu Yıldırım is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at Stanford. Her dissertation, “Familiar Difference: Science, Faith and Empathy between Constantinople and Europe, 1650-1750,” explores how projects of knowledge served political, intellectual, cultural, and religious purposes in both European and Ottoman contexts. Based on European and Middle Eastern languages, Duygu’s research addresses questions regarding the nature of epistemology, the idea of progress, rationality and faith on the eve of modern science.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018
12:00 pm – 1:20 pm
Bldg. 160, Rm. 433A Map

This event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be served.


Diversity Education International Environment Humanities Seminar Science 

General Public, Faculty/Staff, Students, Alumni/Friends
650-721-1385, cesta_stanford@stanford.edu