The Newberry Seminar in Early American History and Culture
Co-Sponsored by the University of Chicago, DePaul University, University of Illinois at Chicago, Northern Illinois University, and Northwestern University
Thursday, May 27, from 3:30pm to 5:30pm
Common People, Common Knowledge: The Folkbiology of Birds in Audubon's America
Gregory Nobles, Georgia Institute of Technology
This essay stems from a chapter of my book, "Naturalist Nation: The Art and Science of Birds in Audubon's America," and deals with the ways nineteenth-century naturalists, most notably John James Audubon (1785-1851), incorporated common people into the discourse of natural history. People were never far from view in the works of Audubon and others, and by including them in their description of birds, naturalists made an important, if inadvertent, point: that common people demonstrated a deep, surprisingly detailed understanding of birds that rivaled - or certainly supplemented their own. At a time when American naturalists were trying to define both natural history and even nature itself in distinctively American terms, their reliance upon, even alliance with, common people seemed central to the scientific enterprise. By embracing this reciprocal relationship, naturalists not only engaged common people in the scientific enterprise, but they popularized and enhanced the standing of science - and therefore their own standing - in the new republican society.
Scholl Center seminars present scholars' works-in-progress. All papers are pre-circulated. If you plan to attend, you may receive a paper by contacting Ginger Shulick at email@example.com, or 312.255.3524.
We encourage faculty members to call the seminar to the attention of graduate students.
The full schedule for this and other Scholl Center seminars is available online at www.newberry.org.
To remove your name from our mailing list, or to report changes or errors, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send comments and questions to H-Net
Webstaff. H-Net reproduces announcements that have been submitted to us as a
free service to the academic community. If you are interested in an announcement
listed here, please contact the organizers or patrons directly. Though we strive
to provide accurate information, H-Net cannot accept responsibility for the text of
announcements appearing in this service. (Administration)