CFP: Knowledge, Profit, and Beauty: Natural-History Exchange between London and the Americas
Panel for SEA 2014, London and the Americas, 1492Ė1812
July 17Ė19, 2014
Kingston University, London
American natural productions exerted a powerful influence on Londonís development during the early modern period. Specimens were eagerly acquired and incorporated into the cityís gardens, cabinets, and menageries, where they altered local ecologies and shaped systems of knowledge, while others provided the base resources for Britainís burgeoning industries. Indeed, London did not simply collect and incorporate American exotics within its city limits, but served as an important point of brokerage that received and re-exported these valuable materials.
This interdisciplinary panel intends to draw together such fields as art history, literature, landscape studies, and the history of science to investigate the many ways the exchange in natural history helped mold early modern London, from its earliest contact with the Americas through the end of the eighteenth century. What institutions and networks did the city develop to facilitate the circulation of natural productions, and how in turn did their circulation transform Londonís physical and intellectual topography? In what ways did the exchange inflect aesthetic practices, alter city spaces, and dictate the movement of objects and people? We welcome papers from a broad range of disciplines that consider the deep and lasting influence of American natural history on this key metropolitan center.
Please send a 300-word abstract and one-page CV to Elizabeth Athens (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Florence Grant (email@example.com) by September 15, 2013.
Elizabeth Athens and Florence Grant
Yale Center for British Art
1080 Chapel Street
New Haven, CT 06510
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