This presentation uses one of the most important and extensive scientific expeditions to reconnoiter the Amazon River basin in the eighteenth century to examine the observational and classificatory practices of extra-European naturalist voyages. By exploring the interaction between in situ ethnography, the consultation of European printed texts, and practices of collection and display, it seeks to place the philosophical reflections of Alexandre Rodrigues Ferreira (1756-1815) and late-eighteenth-century Portuguese natural history more generally into dialogue with contemporary philosophical practices. In particular, the talk will explore Ferreira’s discussion of the tapuio – a generic referent for the Brazilian Indian – in relation to other eighteenth-century written sources on the customs and behaviors of non-European peoples, as well as more recent anthropological discussions of Amerindian perspectivism and epistemological challenges to the nature/culture divide.
Introduction by Prof. Dan Edelstein, French and Italian.
Response by Prof. Londa Schiebinger, History of Science
Coffee, juice and snacks will be served.
Co-sponsored by the History Department and the Program in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology.