The Botany of Empire in the Long Eighteenth Century

by sarahkburke

Symposium at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection

Durian, from an album of watercolors of Asian fruits and flowers, ca. 1798-1810. Dumbarton Oaks Rare Book Collection.

Durian, from an album of watercolors of Asian fruits and flowers, ca. 1798-1810. Dumbarton Oaks Rare Book Collection.

Washington, D.C. | October 4–5, 2013
This two-day symposium will bring together an international body of scholars working on botanical investigations and publications within the context of imperial expansion in the long eighteenth century. The period saw widespread exploration, a tremendous increase in the traffic in botanical specimens, significant taxonomic innovations, and horticultural experimentation. We will revisit these developments from a comparative perspective that will include Europe, the Ottoman Empire, Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

Main themes for discussion are global networks of plant discovery and transfer; the quest for medicinal plants and global crops such as ginseng, tea and opium; the economies of gift, trade, patronage, and scientific prestige in which plants circulated; imperial aspirations or influences as reflected on garden design; and visual strategies and epistemologies.

The symposium will coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the Rare Book Room at Dumbarton Oaks, and will feature an exhibit of botanical works from our collections.

Registration for the symposium is now open. For more information you can visit the website, or write to BotanySymposium@doaks.org.

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