Call for Papers - Wallich and Indian Natural History: Collection Dispersal and the Cultivation of Knowledge

CALL FOR PAPERS

Wallich and Indian Natural History:
Collection Dispersal and the Cultivation of Knowledge.

6th-7th December, 2011

The Natural History Museum, London, and The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Abstract Submission Deadline: 30th August, 2011

This international conference will be held from the 6th-7th December, 2011, on the general theme of South Asian natural history collections with a special emphasis on the collections of the Danish botanist Nathaniel Wallich (1786-1854), a major figure in the history and development of botany in the nineteenth century. As superintendent of the Calcutta Botanic Garden (1817-1846), he undertook botanical expeditions, described new plant species, amassed a large herbarium, collected thousands of plant specimens and commissioned local artists to draw beautiful botanical watercolours. His work has thus been influential in South Asian Natural History research.

This conference will explore the challenges associated with exploiting such collections and the interesting opportunities they provide for interdisciplinary research. In particular, the conference will consider the experience of the recent Wallich and Indian natural history project as an interesting exemplar (a collaboration with the British Library and The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and funded by the World Collections Programme).

Major South Asian natural history collections from the 18th and 19th century are now dispersed across institutions in South Asia, Europe and beyond. Thus, the conference will be hosted by the Natural History Museum, London and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in partnership with the British Library. This conference plays an integral part in the World Collections Programme’s funded project “Wallich and Indian Natural History”. A full programme and travel information will be available on the Centre for Arts and Humanities (Natural History Museum) website, www.nhm.ac.uk/cahr, by the 30th September, 2011.

The definition of ‘South Asia’, in this call for papers, refers to the wide geographical region, as opposed to the Indian subcontinent alone.

Day One, 6th December
The first day of the conference will be held at the Natural History Museum, and structured by three speaker sessions. The themes for these sessions are:

1) South Asian Natural History and Collections
2) Dispersal and Movement of South Asian Collections
3) Collection Exploitation and Digitisation

Day Two, 7th December
The second day will be devoted to an opportunity to view and discuss Wallich related material at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Conference Themes:
We welcome papers that address the following themes:

1) South Asian Natural History and Collections
• The life and expeditions of Nathaniel Wallich
• Early 19th century development of Indian botanical gardens
• Preservation and conservation of collections
• South Asian natural history drawings as a research resource
2) Dispersal and Movement of South Asian Collections
• The geographic movement of collections from South Asia
• The impact of dispersal on research
• Imperialism and the East India Company
• Pictorial records of British India
3) Collection Exploitation and Digitisation
• The digital humanities: challenges and opportunities
• Digital archiving and its development
• Modernising collection classifications
• The impact of digitising natural history collections

A preference will be given to papers with a focus on the Indian natural history collections. International submissions are welcome.

Travel bursaries are available to speakers only. If you would like to attend the conference as a delegate, please visit our website and follow the links to our online ticketing system which will be made available by the 30th September, 2011.

Timeline:

Deadline for abstracts: 30th August, 2011 Full conference programme: 30th September, 2011

Abstract Submission
Abstracts must be no more than 500 words. Please submit your abstract as a Word file to Zara Naghizadeh (z.naghizadeh@nhm.ac.uk) with “SUBMISSION WINH2011” in the subject title of your e-mail. In the body of your e-mail, you should include the following: title, name, institution, e-mail address, postal address, telephone number, technical requests and a brief biography.

For all enquiries relating to this conference, the Wallich Collection, or CAHR activities, please e-mail Zara Naghizadeh (z.naghizadeh@nhm.ac.uk).

Centre for Arts and Humanities Research (CAHR)
Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road
London
SW7 5BD

www.nhm.ac.uk/cahr/

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