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Surekha Davies Lecture: New Worlds, Indigenous Technologies and European Cabinets of Curiosities

Submitted on Tuesday, November 07, 2017

This lecture is presented in partnership with The Toronto Renaissance and Reformation Colloquium

In the early modern period, European perceptions of distant peoples shifted from curiosity and admiration to a growing conviction that Europe resided at the top of a cultural, technological, and racial hierarchy. Making knowledge about both humans and the natural world became increasingly visual pursuits. This paper explores descriptive methods and classificatory schemes for overseas artifacts through the close reading of inventories and catalogues of early modern curiosity cabinets. It argues that these texts were material and discursive objects that helped to constitute cultural hierarchy through typologies of objects. The processes of inventorying human variety also shaped European identities in relation to both classical antiquity and to the material antiquities of new worlds.

Date: Monday November 13, 2017
Time: 5:00 pm
Location: Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse, 79 St George Street

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