23 Feb 2022 15:00 - 16:00 Online, via Zoom


‘Ethno-Science’ reading group. Session four: guest lecture from Esther Jean Langdon (Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brasil)

Esther Jean Langdon is an Anthropologist and Co-ordinator of the National Research Institute, Brazil. Her work across medical anthropology, cultural anthropology and anthropological linguistics has lead to her current project, ‘Documentation, translation and linguistic revitalisation: collaborative research from a critical sociolinguistic perspective’.

‘Ethno-Science’ is a reading group dedicated to programmatic and critical texts on the changing relationship between scientific knowledge and what is variously called local, ‘indigenous’ or ‘native’ knowledges. Our starting point is the eighteenth-century travel instructions that asked naturalists to routinely record indigenous names and knowledge. We explore economic botany, zoology, ethnography, and other strands of nineteenth-century natural history relying on systematic surveys of national and colonial territories, and the eventual consolidation of ethno-disciplines in the twentieth century. The aim is to understand the relationship between reifications and reinterpretations of ‘savage’, ‘indigenous’, ‘native’ or ‘primitive’ knowledge and corresponding field practices of interrogation and interaction with local informants. We are interested in the putative shifts towards increasingly global awareness and calls for the incorporation of ‘traditional’ knowledge in political and scientific discourses.

To join via Zoom, or if you have queries about the events or reading, please don’t hesitate to email Raphael Uchôa or Staffan Müller-Wille.


gloknos is initially funded for 5 years by the European Research Council through a Consolidator Grant awarded to Dr Inanna Hamati-Ataya for her project ARTEFACT (2017-2022). ARTEFACT is funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (ERC grant agreement no. 724451). For information about gloknos or ARTEFACT please contact the administrator in the first instance.


Wednesday 20 October 2021

Session One: Nineteenth Century Travel Instructions

  • British Association for the Advancement of Science. Notes and Queries on Anthropology, for the Use of Travellers and Residents in Uncivilized Lands. London, E. Stanford, 1874.
  • Urry, James. “‘Notes and Queries on Anthropology’ and the Development of Field Methods in British Anthropology, 1870-1920.” Proceedings of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, (1972): 45–57.
Wednesday 24 November 2021

Session Two: Economic Botany in the Nineteenth Century

  • Nau, Eugène. ‘Flore indienne d’Haïti’, in Émile Nau. Histoire des Caciques d’Haïti, (Paris: Gustave Guérin et cie, Éditeurs, 1894).
  • Reyes, Michael. ‘Caribbean ethnobotany before Roumain: Eugène Nau’s nineteenth-century contribution to an understanding of the “indian flora of haiti”’, Caribbean Quarterly 63(4) (2017), 467-483.
Wednesday 19 January 2022

Session Three: Translations between Field and Lab

  • Bravo, Michael T. The Accuracy of Ethnoscience: A Study of Inuit Cartography and Cross-Cultural Commensurability. Department of Social Anthropology, University of Manchester, 1996.
  • Shmuely, Shira. ‘Curare: The Poisoned Arrow That Entered the Laboratory and Sparked a Moral Debate’. Social History of Medicine 33, no. 3 (2020): 881–97.
Wednesday 16 February 2022

Session Four: ‘Ethno-Science’ Guest Speaker 

Details TBC

Wednesday 16 March 2022

Session Five: Ethno-Science and Historiography

  • Tilley, Helen. ‘Global Histories, Vernacular Science, and African Genealogies; or, Is the History of Science Ready for the World?’ Isis 101, no. 1 (1 March 2010): 110–19.
  • Mukharji, Projit Bihari. ‘Vishalyakarani as Eupatorium Ayapana: Retro-Botanizing, Embedded Traditions, and Multiple Historicities of Plants in Colonial Bengal, 1890–1940’. The Journal of Asian Studies 73, no. 1 (2014): 65–87.
Wednesday 18 May 2022

Session Six: ‘Ethno-Science’ Guest Speaker 

Details TBC

Wednesday 15 June 2022

Session Seven: Recent Reflections on Bioprospecting

  • Das, Kaushiki. ‘The Global Quest for Green Gold: Implications of Bioprospecting and Patenting for Indigenous Bioresources and Knowledge’. Society and Culture in South Asia 6, no. 1 (2020): 74–97.
  • Pollock, Anne. ‘Places of Pharmaceutical Knowledge-Making: Global Health, Postcolonial Science, and Hope in South African Drug Discovery’. Social Studies of Science 44, no. 6 (2014): 848–73.

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