Global Aldrovandi: Exchanging Nature in the Early Modern World
The Bolognese polymath Ulisse Aldrovandi (1522-1605) sought to make sense of the changing world of the sixteenth century. Europe’s explorations and conquests in Asia, Africa, and the Americas both challenged and inspired Aldrovandi’s project to produce a revised Historia Naturalis. The newly “discovered” worlds not only revealed an astonishing amount of previously unknown animals, plants, and artifacts, but they also posed a new epistemological challenge: They brought into question the methodological and taxonomic Aristotelian framework that Aldrovandi had employed.
Substantial scholarship devoted to Aldrovandi and the New World has begun to explore Aldrovandi’s global interests. The proposed international conference––organized by Marco Beretta, Università di Bologna, Davide Domenici, Università di Bologna, and Lia Markey, Newberry Library––aims to expand our knowledge of Aldrovandi’s conception of the world by examining the effects that the changing globe had on Aldrovandi’s work, investigating what types of extra-European specimens were included in his research and how the author managed to include them in the general architecture of his intellectual project. For instance, what did Aldrovandi collect from Africa and Asia and how were these other regions of the world represented and described in his publications? What did his extensive correspondence with northern European scholars inform him of other parts of Europe? How did Aldrovandi think comparatively about different regions of the world?
This program is presented by Offiss, the Dipartimento di Filosofia e Comunicazione, Dipartimento di Storia Culture Civiltà, Università di Bologna, and co-sponsored by Brill (Leiden) and the Center for Renaissance Studies, Newberry Library.
For further information, please visit the Newberry website.