Journal for the History of Knowledge - Special Issue Fall 2022

Journal for the History of Knowledge - Special Issue Fall 2022

We are pleased to announce the upcoming special issue: Situated Nature: Field collecting practices and the construction of scientific locality in the long nineteenth century, with guest editors Catarina Madruga and Deborah Dubald. It is scheduled to appear in the fall of 2022.

The abstract of the special issue:

Field collecting is a combined result of specific gestures of the hand, the use of dedicated tools, a heavy reliance on intermediaries, on-site negotiations of natural history knowledge, and the mobilisation of a variety of agencies. The authors of this special issue illuminate how this gesture was not neutral but rather embedded in political meaning by exploring the relationship between field collecting and the construction of authority, identity, and social capital.

The collective aim is to show how collection-based knowledge was a result of the co-creation of indigenous, artisanal, and administrative knowledge. The contributions highlight how the history of natural knowledge depended on non-European and non-dominant ways of knowing. Together, the papers present a considerable geographical range, including case-studies of field collecting in Australia, India, Cape Verde, Chile, France, Spain, and Serbia. The different papers describe how killing, sampling, preserving, packing, and shipping specimens revealed hierarchical and socially situated dimensions of knowledge production. They will underline distinctions in the ambiguous figure of the field collector, explore the gendered practices of field collecting, and highlight the impact of local negotiation and translation in the epistemological process. By focusing on the nineteenth century, the volume will articulate how dreams of empire, nation, and tamed nature translated into practical economies of knowledge at the local scale. The field is featured as a contested space where scientific locality was constructed, identities were negotiated, and authority was reiterated.