Curious Encounters: Voyaging, Collecting, and Making Knowledge in the Long Eighteenth Century

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Adriana Craciun, Mary Terrall
University of Toronto Press, Jan 1, 2019 - Antiques & Collectibles - 256 pages

With contributions from historians, literary critics, and geographers, Curious Encounters uncovers a rich history of global voyaging, collecting, and scientific exploration in the long eighteenth century. Leaving behind grand narratives of discovery, these essays collectively restore a degree of symmetry and contingency to our understanding of encounters between European and Indigenous people. To do this the essays consider diverse agents of historical change, both human and inanimate: commodities, curiosities, texts, animals, and specimens moved through their own global circuits of knowledge and power. The voyages and collections rediscovered here do not move from a European center to a distant periphery, nor do they position European authorities as the central agents of this early era of globalization. Long distance voyagers from Greenland to the Ottoman Empire crossed paths with French, British, Polynesian, and Spanish travelers across the world, trading objects and knowledge for diverse ends. The dynamic contact zones of these curious encounters include the ice floes of the Arctic, the sociable spaces of the tea table, the hybrid material texts and objects in imperial archives, and the collections belonging to key figures of the Enlightenment, including Sir Hans Sloane and James Petiver.

From inside the book


Tea as an Object of Knowledge between Britain and China 16901730
Knowledge Gathering by a SeventeenthCentury Ottoman
3 Indigenous Voyaging Authorship and Discovery
Encounters and Exchanges in Hans Sloanes Collection
The Pursuit of Natural History through the British Slave Trade to Spanish America
Serializing Polynesian Barkcloths in EighteenthCentury Britain
Education Evangelization and the Reproduction of Custom in SeventeenthCentury Peru
8 Stadial Environmental History in the Voyage Narratives of George and John Reinhold Forster

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About the author (2019)

Adriana Craciun is the Emma MacLachlan Metcalf Chair of Humanities at Boston University. Mary Terrall is a professor in the Department of History at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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