Prof. Dr. Staffan Müller-Wille and Prof. Dr. Elena Esayev: Linnaeus in Lapland: Generating Knowledge in Transit

Prof. Dr. Staffan Müller-Wille and Prof. Dr. Elena Esayev are visiting the Science Studies Colloquium Series to discuss their current research project.

Müller-Wille is University Lecturer at the University of Cambridge and Honorary Professor at the University of Lübeck. His research covers the history of the life sciences from the early modern period to the early twentieth century, with a focus on the history of natural history, anthropology, and genetics. Müller-Wille has one other ongoing research project at this time: In the Shadow of the Tree: The Diagrammatics of Relatedness as Scientific, Scholarly, and Popular Practice.


Prof. Dr. Elena Isayev is Professor of Ancient History and Place at the University of Exeter. Her work addresses questions of migration, belonging, displacement, encounter, politics of exception and spatial perception from a longue durée perspective that includes current concerns. Isayev's other current project is Imagining Futures through Un/Archived Pasts: A Global Crossdisciplinary Collaboration.



The seminar is open for everyone, and the main lecture will be recorded and posted on this page.

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.
Published Nov. 13, 2019 11:12 AM - Last modified Sep. 9, 2020 11:31 AM