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CRRS Friday Workshop: Andreas Motsch – “Images of America and its people in Early Modern Print”

February 5, 2016 at 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Information about the Americas in the early modern period was in high demand in order to satisfy not merely curiosity, but the very need to know in the pursuit of commercial interests and colonial conquest. While the best information came from primary sources, from personal testimony (with its own limitations), more and more information was gathered, processed and re-circulated by secondary sources. The development of print itself accelerated this process exponentially and the development of engraving constituted a further advancement in “information technology” and the development of an “American imaginary”. Knowledge about America, its geography, fauna, flora and its inhabitants was disseminated through a variety of media: through the circulation and collection of naturalia and artificialia, the production of texts and the dissemination of images. This talk analyzes the production and circulation of images from the “discovery” until the mid-18th century. How did European engravers “imagine” America and Native American cultures? What are the technologies and methods involved in the formation of an American iconography and an imaginary America?
Andreas Motsch is an Associate Professor in the Department of French at the University of Toronto. His research concerns the history and epistemology of literature and focuses on discursive dynamics in Early Modern times, in particular on the emergence of ethnography and anthropology and their impact on philosophical Modernity. He is currently working on two publication projects on the Jesuit Joseph-François Lafitau, who discovered American ginseng in New France and who published in 1724 the first “ethnography” of the Iroquois in two richly illustrated volumes.


February 5, 2016
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
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