Gepubliceerd op 17-09-2014

Call for Papers: Materia medica on the Move. Collecting, Trading, Studying, and Using Exotic Plants in the Early Modern Period

The Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities, Huygens ING, and Naturalis Biodiversity Centre will host a three-day conference on the circulation of knowledge regarding non-European plants and plant components, to which therapeutic properties were attributed in the early modern period (1500-1800). The conference will take place 15-17 April 2015 and will be hosted at Museum Boerhaave and Naturalis Biodiversity Centre in Leiden.

In recent years the history of exotic plants has received substantial attention from scholars in a range of disciplines. The various contexts and perspectives from which plants can be studied (e.g. medicinal, scientific, socio-cultural, ethnobotanical) have led to much cross-disciplinary research of historians of science, pharmacists, ethnobotanists, and the like.

The conference intends to provide a platform for researchers in the field: to provide an overview of current research initiatives, and to exchange insights and ideas about the knowledge, trade, and uses of plants in the past.

During the conference renowned scholars, including dr. Florike Egmond (Leiden University) and prof. Harold Cook (Brown University), will deliver keynote lectures on the circulation of pharmaceutical and botanical knowledge in the early modern period. We invite early and mid-career researchers to submit portions of their work in progress, to be discussed in thematic parallel sessions.

We encourage presentations that utilize digital methods for the history of botany and pharmacy (e.g. digital visualizations of pharmaceutical networks). We also encourage presentations that are based on non-printed and/or non-textual cultural and scientific heritage (e.g. letters, cabinets of curiosities, collections of materia medica, herbals, medical chests, etc.).

Organization and contact

Abstracts should contain no more than 400 words (for 15 minute presentations) and should be sent before 15 November 2014 to Peter van den Hooff (Descartes Centre) at p.c.vandenhooff@uu.nl.

The conference fee is €100. Please be aware, that this fee does not include accommodation. MA students may apply for a reduced conference fee of €50.


You may register here.


The conference is organized by the Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities, Huygens ING, and Naturalis Biodiversity Centre and is made possible by project TIME CAPSULE and Museum Boerhaave.

More information can be found here.

Het KNHG is de grootste organisatie van professionele historici in Nederland. Het biedt een platform aan de ruim 1100 leden en aan de historische gemeenschap als geheel. Word lid van het KNHG.
Het Huygens Instituut beoogt de Nederlandse geschiedenis en cultuur inclusiever maken. Het ontsluit historische bronnen en literaire teksten en ontwikkelt innovatieve methoden, tools en duurzame digitale infrastructuur.