Class Notes 9-30

-Today we looked at the question of how natural history texts can be looked at as colonial knowledge. First we talked about the Columbian exchange and how it was consequentially harsher on the new world than the old world. Most of our discussion on this matter revolved around the depictions of animals and plants from Historia Naturae. Both allowed us to look at tangible physical things as a way of colonial impact and understanding among Europeans.

-Historia Naturae was the first European attempt to systematically describe and classify new world plants and animals. Some descriptions and classifications of animals are hysterically false. Other facts about these animals are relatively accurate. Showcases a thirst for knowledge among Europeans for things in the new world. Huge sense of exoticism in this publication. Produced in a collaborative effort with natives. Which proves that European science wasn’t totally accurate as they relied on native input to create this publication. Overall Historia Naturae is a good source to look at how colonialism depicted new things they were unfamiliar with and how Europeans put these things into terms they could comprehend.

-Columbian Exchange: Artificial re-establishment of connections through the mingling of old and new world plants, animals, and bacteria.


Above is a video about Historia Naturae and two articles about Columbian Exchange

Examination Questions

-How did Columbian Exchange negatively impact the new world more so than the old world?

-What ways can you see European influences in Historia Naturae?

-(Relating to the book presentation from today) What does Alchon claim as other causes for the deaths of so many indigenous people in the new world?

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