Workshop Linnaeus in Lapland: Generating Knowledge in Transit

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

HUM 330 at 15:15 - 17:45

Dr Staffan Mueller-Wille & Prof Elena Isayev (University of Exeter) 

Supplementary notes to the presentation


We present our plans for a collaborative research project that consists of two intertwined elements: a new English on-line edition and translation of Carl Linnaeus's diary of a journey through Lapland undertaken in 1732, and a re-enactment of that journey. One of the principal subjects Linnaeus enquired about, and took note of, was how natural resources and ways of life contributed to the well-being of local populations. In particular, he exalted Sámi culture as a model of healthy life, while also promoting colonization. He thus objectified Lapland and its inhabitants in a proto-colonial manner, while also being on a guided tour, eagerly collecting information provided by people that were on the move as well, usually spoke more than one language, and helped him find his way. The diary therefore provides a window on past practices of generating biomedical knowledge "in transit," but also deals with issues of contemporary relevance, ranging from sustainability and wellbeing to indigeneity and sovereignty. By combining re-translation and re-enactment of the journey we envisage an entirely novel methodology of scholarly edition, working in tandem as a catalyst for contemporary public discourse on issues ranging from sustainability and wellbeing to indigeneity and sovereignty.


Addendum by the speakers

“If you, or any of your colleagues feel they would like to read up a little on Linnaeus’s journey, we suggest you take a look at pp. 90 to 110 of Peter Graves 1995 translation of Linnaeus' Laplandic Journey. This covers his travel home along the west coast of Finland. This part of the journal has generally been neglected by commentators. We are particularly interested in your perspectives on this. We attach our own reading notes, which we hope will give some idea of the themes we find interesting (and themes we may have missed!).

We also have prepared, with the help of Megan Wooley, our research assistant, an interactive map that allows access to the text of the journal. You can access it here:”

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Last updated: 20.8.2019