Scientific instructions for travellers

Moore Institute Seminar Room (203)

Date & Time
8th October, 2010 @ 09:00:00

Scientific instructions for travellers

International conference

8-9 October 2010

Moore Institute Seminar Room (203)

The development of inquiries, questionnaires, and directions for scientific travellers proliferated in the early modern period, ranging from the chorographers surveying particular places in Europe, to the Royal Society's queries for destinations around the world. The growth in this practice in eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and into the era of professional anthropology is remarkable. This conference explores the traditions and preoccupations behind this practice in a series of contexts and traditions. With participants from Italy, Germany, Switzerland, America, Argentina, Britain, and Ireland, the conference will address different national and disciplinary traditions, including the contribution of chorography; directions for collecting the natural world; the institutional role of the Consejo de Indias; instructions for geologists and anthropologists; the development of fieldwork practices; and instructions for specific expeditions to Australia, Kamchatka, and elsewhere. Among the figures discussed will be Sebastian Münster, William Petty, John Locke, Edward Lhuyd, François Bernier, and J.M. de Gérando.

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

Conference program

Friday October 8th

9.30 Session 1: Networks of Exchange

Matthew McLean (University of St. Andrews)

Remapping Early Confessional Europe: Humanist Collaborative Method and the Making of Münster's Cosmography

Frédéric Tinguely (University of Geneva)

Regulating Free Thought ? Chapelain's Instructions to François Bernier (1661)

11.15 Session 2: Natural History & Seventeenth-Century Method

Daniel Carey (NUI Galway)

John Locke, the Royal Society and travel instructions

Ted McCormick (Concordia University)

Population Questions and the Scale of Salubrity

14.15 Session 3: Chorography and Antiquarianism

Adam Fox (University of Edinburgh)

Printed Questionnaires and the Discovery of Britain and Ireland, 1650-1700

Nancy Edwards (Bangor University)

Edward Lhuyd's 'Great Tour' (1697-1701) and the 'Archaeologia Britannica'

16.00 Session 4: Philosophy & Method in Nineteenth-Century Travel

Efram Sera Shriar (University of Leeds)

How to be a 'Philosophical Traveller': De Gérando's 'Methods to Follow', and the Baudin Expedition 1799-1803

Charles Withers (University of Edinburgh)

Questions of method and practice in guides to travellers,c.1839-c.1849

Saturday October 9th

09.15 Session 5: Observing and Collecting the Physical World

Dominik Collet (University of Göttingen)

Doing science at a distance. Global collecting in early museums

Marcelo Figueroa (National University of Tucumán, CONICET)

Spanish questionnaires: Instructions and Travel Advice on Collecting Natural Objects (18th Century)

Ezio Vaccari (University of Insubria)

Making geology in the field: the role of scientific instructions in the 19th century

11.30 Session 6: Ethnography and Travel Practice

Gudrun Bucher (University of Göttingen)

"De Historia Gentium" - The Instructions of Gerhard Friedrich Müller for the Second Kamchatka Expedition (1733-1743)

Henrika Kuklick (University of Pennsylvania)

Personal Equations: Peculiarities of Fieldwork Method

For any queries or further information, please contact Gabor Gelleri at