Alexander von Humboldt's and Aimé Bonpland's South American Voyage

 

Alexander von Humboldt's and Aimé Bonpland's South American Voyage

Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland expressed the intent of their voyage was to discover how the "forces of nature intersect upon one another and how the geographic environment influences plant and animal life."  They hoped to  "find out about the unity of nature."  The voyages and their "discoveries" did not necessarily uncover new knowledge, but rather interpreted the knowledge of the South American continent and made it legible to a European audience.  This becomes clear after closer anayslis of the networks of Humboldt's and Bonpland's South American travel companions, some named and some unnamed.  Humboldt and Bonpland, ensconced in the global legibility of nature, attempted to make the world visible and readable to an audience of both European specialists and armchair explorers.  Thus the product of the voyage was a series of presentations and 22 publications between 1805 and 1834.  Humboldt's publications can be divided into 5 subject catagories, survey measurements. botany, plant geography, zoology, and travel.  Most of the publications were published in French and some in German, and many immediately translated into English. Each topic reframed the inofmraiton for either a specific specialsit or general audience.

The challenge of putting Humboldt and Bonpland into Itinera is limits.  The voyage proper begins and ends in Paris, but Humboldt also travels to and from Berlin before and after the voyage.  These European trips add a level of complexity to Humboldt's network.  The first stage of the project will consider the major stages of the trip between departure and arrival in Paris, but a later stage of hte project could consider the Berlin and Italian voyages of Humboldt and his companions.  Antoher roadblock is the extensive nature of Humboldt's social network, which was vast.  Selections will have to be determined on the basis of what networks are most useful to the project.

Categories: 
  • Mobility/Exchange
  • Visual Knowledge
  • Itinera