Conferences, Cosponsored Event

Early Modern Explorations: A Conference in Honor of Mary Terrall

Image: R. C. Geoffroy de Villeneuve, Afrique ou histoire, moeurs, usages et coutumes des Africains, 1814.

Friday, June 3, 2022
8:45 am – 5:15 pm

Royce Hall, Room 314
10745 Dickson Plaza

organized by Theodore Porter (University of California, Los Angeles)

Co-sponsored by the UCLA Department of History, UCLA College of Social Sciences Dean’s Office, UCLA Center for Social Medicine and Humanities, and the Huntington Library Dibner Program in the History of Science and Technology.

Join us in person on the UCLA campus.
Livestream available on the Center’s YouTube Channel

All attendees must complete a pre-entry check to attend events. Everyone, including UCLA students, staff, faculty and non-affiliated visitors, must complete the UCLA COVID-19 Symptom Monitoring Survey prior to arrival and present their clearance certificate to event staff to gain entry. In accordance with updated UCLA Protocol for Organized Events, attendees are no longer permitted to show vaccination cards or proof of a negative test for entry.

As of Friday, May 27, 2022, universal indoor masking has resumed at UCLA due to a rise in COVID-19 cases. Upgraded, well-fitting masks are required to be worn indoors by all, regardless of vaccination status.

The “Scientific Revolution,” as the first generation of professional historians of science defined it, was set in early modern Europe. It was about rigor and mathematical abstraction, the distancing of self from nature. Mary Terrall’s sense of early modern science appears radically different. It focuses on human actors, but also insects, frogs, instruments, and plants. Open one of her books or articles and you will meet not with towering abstractions, but with closely-observed actors, enveloped in details drawn from texts and archives that may at first appear remote from science. Yet mathematics is present too, and self-styled heroic adventurers carrying out those measurements and calculations by which the earth was ever-so-slightly flattened at the poles. The forms of early modern exploration that are brought together in her work connect with imperial and commercial adventures, animal husbandry, book history, and natural history collections. The new world of early modern science as she depicts it is dazzlingly heterogeneous, simultaneously literary and material, comprised of enlightened states and their academies; female as well as male collectors, readers, and mathematicians; far-flung adventures and finely-drawn caterpillars.

This event is free of charge. To attend the in-person event at Royce Hall you must register in advance. Please complete and submit the Booking Form below. Registration closes on Tuesday, May 31. (Registration is not necessary to view the livestream on our YouTube Channel.)

(Discussion to follow each presentation)

8:45 a.m.
Morning coffee and registration 

9:15 a.m.         
Bronwen Wilson, University of California, Los Angeles

Theodore Porter, University of California, Los Angeles
Introductory Remarks

9:30 a.m.
Panel One
Moderator: Amir Alexander, University of California, Los Angeles 

Pamela H. Smith, Columbia University
“Lizard Tails, Frog Seed, and Other Longue-Durée Sites of Human Engagement with Nature”

10:15 a.m.
Karen Oslund, Towson University
“The Man Who Traveled the Earth: Árni Magnússon and Natural History in the Enlightenment”

11:00 a.m.
Coffee Break

11:15 a.m.
Panel Two
Moderator: Carla Pestana, University of California, Los Angeles                       

Catherine A. Molineux, Vanderbilt University
“Absent Archives: The Case of the Dover Stranger in Colonial America”                       

12:00 p.m.
Kapil Raj, École des hautes études en sciences sociales
“Indigenous Medics and European Botanizing in Early Modern Malabar: The Making of Hendrik Van Reede’s Hortus Indicus Malabaricus, 12 vols (Amsterdam, 1678-1693)”

12:45 p.m.

2:00 p.m.
Panel Three
Moderator: Soraya de Chadarevian, University of California, Los Angeles

Mi Gyung Kim, North Carolina State University
“Chemistry and Botany in Rousseau’s Politics of Science”                       

2:45 p.m.
Sean M. Quinlan, University of Idaho
“Francescantonio Grimaldi and the Dilemmas of the Human Sciences in the Neapolitan Enlightenment” 

3:30 p.m.
Coffee Break 

3:45 p.m.
Panel Four
Moderator: Helen Deutsch, University of California, Los Angeles 

Michael D. Gordin, Princeton University
“On Being the Wrong Size: Post-Soviet Academies of Sciences”

4:30 p.m.
Scottie Hale Buehler, Sam Houston State University
““Teaching Midwives, Midwifing Scholars” (Remote Participation)

4:45 p.m.
Presentation of Kudos by Helen Deutsch

Mary Terrall, University of California, Los Angeles
Concluding Remarks

5:15 p.m.

Image: R. C. Geoffroy de Villeneuve, Afrique ou histoire, moeurs, usages et coutumes des Africains, 1814.

Booking Form

Bookings are currently closed for this event.