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Visions of Empire

Visions of Empire
Voyages, Botany, and Representations of Nature


David Philip Miller, David Mackay, Alan Frost, Christopher Lawrence, John Gascoigne, Lisbet Koerner, Janet Browne, Alan Bewell, Martin Kemp, Barbara M. Stafford, Michael Dettelbach, Peter Hanns Reill, Ingjerd Hoëm, Alessandro Duranti, Simon Schaffer
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  • Date Published: August 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521172615

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About the Authors
  • This 1996 collection examines the discovery of plants and peoples of the Pacific in the eighteenth century by European scientists and travellers. The contributors conceptualise the process of discovery, which involved active cultural solutions to problems of representation, rather than mere collection and passive depiction. These solutions both reflected and created visions of empire. Studies of the voyages of Banks and Cook investigate their mobilisation of resources. Other essays examine the economic and theological roots of Linnaeus's natural history, and the importance of the sexual system of classification in ideas of human nature and social order. Visions of Empire also tackles the cultural roots of botanical representations and the interpretations of encounters with other peoples. Its interdisciplinary approach maps out a more sophisticated understanding of representations of nature and society.

    • Written in a scholarly but accessible style
    • Interdisciplinary approach makes it of interest to historians of science, art, anthropology, empire, and to cultural and intellectual historians
    • Well illustrated
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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521172615
    • length: 394 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.63kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction David Philip Miller
    Part I. The Banksian Empire:
    2. Joseph Banks, empire, and 'centers of calculation' in late Hanoverian London David Philip Miller
    3. Agents of empire: the Banksian collectors and evaluation of new lands David Mackay
    4. The antipodean exchange: European horticulture and imperial designs Alan Frost
    5. Disciplining disease: scurvy, the navy, and imperial expansion, 1750–1825 Christopher Lawrence
    6. The ordering of nature and the ordering of empire: a commentary John Gascoigne
    Part II. The Uses of Botany:
    7. Purposes of Linnaean travel: a preliminary research report Lisbet Koerner
    8. Botany in the boudoir and garden: the Banksian context Janet Browne
    9. 'On the banks of the South Sea': botany and the sexual controversy in the late eighteenth century Alan Bewell
    Part III. Representations of Living Nature and their Uses:
    10. 'Implanted in our natures': humans, plants, and the stories of art Martin Kemp
    11. Images of ambiguity: eighteenth-century microscopy and the neither/nor Barbara M. Stafford
    12. Global physics and aesthetic empire: Humboldt's physical portrait of the tropics Michael Dettelbach
    13. Seeing and understanding: a commentary Peter Hanns Reill
    Part IV. The Indigenous Environment: Anthropological Perspectives:
    14. The scientific endeavor and the natives Ingjerd Hoëm
    15. Mediated encounters with Pacific cultures: three Samoan dinners Alessandro Duranti
    16. Visions of empire: afterword Simon Schaffer.

  • Editors

    David Philip Miller, University of New South Wales, Sydney

    Peter Hanns Reill, University of California, Los Angeles


    David Philip Miller, David Mackay, Alan Frost, Christopher Lawrence, John Gascoigne, Lisbet Koerner, Janet Browne, Alan Bewell, Martin Kemp, Barbara M. Stafford, Michael Dettelbach, Peter Hanns Reill, Ingjerd Hoëm, Alessandro Duranti, Simon Schaffer

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