Instructions, Questions and Directions: Learning to Observe in Scientific Travel, 1550-1870

Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin

Date & Time
21st September, 2012 @ 00:00:00

Instructions, Questions and Directions:

Learning to Observe in Scientific Travel, 1550-1870

International conference

Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin

21-22 September 2012

The proliferation of inquiries, questionnaires, and directions for scientific travellers is a defining feature of the early modern period, ranging from Humanist agendas for Continental journeys to formal initiatives by Spanish authorities concerned with colonial administration. Exceptional growth in this practice occurred in a variety of seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth-century contexts. This conference explores the traditions and preoccupations behind this activity in a series of different locations.

"Texts, Contexts, Culture" is funded under the Higher Education Authority, under PRTLI4

The conference is supported by generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (

Friday September 21st

9.15 Registration and Welcome by Lorraine Daston and Daniel


Session 1: Assessing the New World

Maria Portuondo (Johns Hopkins University)

Conquistadors as Scientific Observers: Early Spanish Instructions for Travellers

Juan Pimentel (CCHS Madrid)

How to Inventory the New World: Instructions for Scientific Expeditions in Eighteenth-Century Spanish America

10.45-11.15 Coffee

11.15 Session 2: Travellers and Historians

Daniel Carey (National University of Ireland, Galway)

Questions of Travel: Shaping Knowledge in the Early Modern Period

Ida Pugliese (European University Institute)

Exchange and Dissemination of Information during the Enlightenment: Questionnaires as a Historical Research Method

13.00 Lunch

14.15 Session 3: Collection and Direction

Dániel Margócsy (Hunter College, CUNY)

Tourist Guides as Instructions: Baron von Uffenbach and the Infrastructure of Travel in Early Modern Europe

Dominik Collet (University of Göttingen)

Collecting Cultures: Global Networks in Early Museums

15.45-16.00 Coffee

16.00 Session 4: Networks and Signposts

Staffan Müller-Wille (University of Exeter)

Spreading the Gospel: Linnaean Paper Technologies and their Reception

Neil Safier (University of British Columbia)

How to Pack for a Philosophical Voyage in South America: Domenico Vandelli's Rules for the Eighteenth-Century Road

Saturday September 22nd

9.30 Session 5: Mankind', Gender and Travel

Sven Trakulhun (University of Zurich)

Theories of Travel and the Universal Study of Man in Eighteenth-Century Göttingen: A. L. Schlözer's Lectures on Travel in Context

Carl Thompson (Nottingham Trent University)

Recovering Women's Scientific Travel and its Instructional Literature

11.00-11.30 Coffee

11.30 Session 6: Method and Motive in the 19th Century

Pierre-Yves Lacour (C.R.I.S.E.S., Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier-3)

Search and Seizure: Instructions for Confiscation under the French Revolution

Gábor Gelléri (National University of Ireland, Galway)

A Classified Methodology: Count d'Hauterive's Observational Training for Apprentice Diplomats (1826?)

13.00 Lunch

14.15 Session 7: The Victorian Moment

Paul White (University of Cambridge)

Feeling Victorian: Darwin's Queries on Expression and the Imperial Archive

Eavan O'Dochartaigh (National University of Ireland, Galway)

Expanding the Boundaries of the Known World: Instructions to Draughtsmen on the Franklin Search Expeditions