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Linnaeans outdoors: the transformative role of studying nature ‘on the move’ and outside


Travelling is an activity closely associated with Carolus Linnaeus (1707–1778) and his circle of students. This article discusses the transformative role of studying nature outdoors (turning novices into naturalists) in eighteenth-century Sweden, using the little-known journeys of Carl Bäck (1760–1776), Sven Anders Hedin (1750–1821) and Johan Lindwall (1743–1796) as examples. On these journeys, through different parts of Sweden in the 1770s, the outdoors was used, simultaneously, as both a classroom and a space for exploration. The article argues that this multifunctional use of the landscape (common within the Linnaean tradition) encouraged a democratization of the consumption of scientific knowledge and also, to some degree, of its production. More generally, the study also addresses issues of how and why science and scientists travel by discussing how botanical knowledge was reproduced and extended ‘on the move’, and what got senior and junior students moving.

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The British Journal for the History of Science
  • ISSN: 0007-0874
  • EISSN: 1474-001X
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-for-the-history-of-science
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