Scientific instructions for travellers

University of Cambridge

Date & Time
18th March, 2011 @ 09:30:00

Scientific instructions for travellers

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.

With participants from the UK, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, and Brazil, 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 astronomers; travel in the Portuguese Atlantic world; the development of fieldwork practices; and the work of surveying in nineteenth-century Ireland.

"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 (

Scientific instructions for travellers

International conference

University of Cambridge

18 March 2011

Room 1.11, Faculty of Classics, Sidgwick Ave.

9.30 Registration and Welcome by Daniel Carey and Sadiah Qureshi

Session 1:

Science and instruction in the Luso-Spanish world

Chair: Surekha Davies (Birkbeck, University of London)

Edward Collins (NUI Galway)

Theory and Practice: Scientific Ambition and the Problem of Application in Sixteenth-Century Spain

Lorelai Kury (Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ), Rio de Janeiro)

Scientific Travel in the Portuguese Atlantic World during the Enlightenment

11.00 Coffee and tea break

  • 11.15 Session 2:

Reordering knowledge in the early modern period

Chair: Sachiko Kusukawa (University of Cambridge)

Paola Molino (European University Institute, Florence)

Systems of Knowledge in the Late Sixteenth-Century Scholarly World: Instructions for Travellers and Instructions for Librarians in Comparison

Daniel Carey (NUI Galway)

Bacon, Hartlib, Boyle: Unstructuring Knowledge

12.15 Response to the morning session by Joan-Pau Rubiés (London School of Economics)

12.45 Lunch