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Scribal Science: Naturalists' Paper Empire in France ca. 1660-1770

Scribal Science: Naturalists' Paper Empire in France ca. 1660-1770

Objective

SCRIBSCIE seeks to understand the place of scribal practices and manuscript artefacts in the work of French naturalists between ca. 1660 and 1770, and especially their role in these scholars’ effort to gather a knowledge of the wider world’s nature. The aim is to measure the vibrancy of scholarly scribal labor in the age of print and well beyond epistolary exchanges. My overarching hypothesis is that manuscript culture shaped the ill-defined intellectual and social contours of both natural history and the naturalist’s persona, not the least in their global and imperial dimension: making and managing manuscript records of observations and data were imperial gestures through and through. In charting the hidden stories of taken-for-granted artefacts such as field notes, excerpt notebooks, plant catalogs, and sketches, as well as quotidian gestures such as notetaking, listing, drawing, arranging papers into folders, and moving archives from one location to another, this project asks about the social, political, and cultural implications of European scholars’ working methods at home and abroad in a context of colonial expansion. Mining principally the exciting and virtually untapped holdings of the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle (MNHN) in Paris, the project fits particularly well the first major professional objective of this action, namely to develop my career as an independent historian of science with a strong expertise in museum and library curatorship. This last aspect in particular will be achieved through close collaboration with the MNHN and a secondment to Università di Bologna: such trans-sectorial transfer of expertise will materialize in a workshop, a special issue, and an exhibition. The second major professional goal is strengthening my experience in the organization of scientific and broad-public events, which will be attained by coordinating an international conference, a second special issue, and a graduate seminar.
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Coordinator

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE CNRS

Address

Rue Michel Ange 3
75794 Paris

France

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 184 707,84

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 834252

Status

Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 September 2019

  • End date

    31 August 2021

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.3.2.

  • Overall budget:

    € 184 707,84

  • EU contribution

    € 184 707,84

Coordinated by:

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE CNRS

France