Dominik Hüninger: "Collection Ecologies"

  • Date: –15:00
  • Location: Engelska parken - The Rausing Room
  • Organiser: Department of History of Science and Ideas
  • Contact person: H. Otto Sibum
  • Seminarium

Office for History of Science

(Cancelled due to the Corona pandemic. New date TBA.)

Dominik Hüninger, University of Hamburg: "Collection Ecologies: Insects, Information, and Improvement in Joseph Banks’s Knowledge Network


Abstract
English naturalist Joseph Banks (1743-1820) is well-known for his vast collections of botanical, zoological, and mineralogical specimens acquired from all around the globe through trade, correspondence, empire, and slavery. Zooming from the global to the microscopic, Banks attempted to cultivate cochineal in India, eradicate the “Hessian Fly” in North America, studied weevils found at 32, Soho Square or Revesby Abbey, and examined butterflies encountered at Botany Bay. By centering on specific species in a social context, the article evaluates Banks’s own interests in and practices of insect collecting at home and abroad. Through text mining approaches as well as collection-based inquiries, the presentation argues that Banks’s scientific and colonial activities were connected to early modern oeconomy in which political and social economies of collection infrastructures were as important as attention to the specific ecologies of species. Notions of human economy and the economy of nature played a major role in human-insect relations that informed the practices of insect cultivation as well as their eradication.