"Imago": Stories from the Margins of Global Insect Studies, 18th to 20th Centuries

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Abstract Summary
Since Janice Neri’s magisterial book „The insect and the image“, insects and their images have been put firmly on the map of the histories of science, visual culture and education. Further studies in the field have appeared recently but we are still lacking a comprehensive account of the importance of illustration in entomological studies. Our panel brings together case studies spanning the globe from the 18th to the 20th century to show the variety in which image production was used in processes of entomological knowledge formation and dissemination. The practitioners and institutions of these processes have been largely overlooked as they were at the margins of „professional science.“ Women, non-academic illustrators, local informants and artisans as well as workshops, collections and schools played an important role but remain largely unacknowledged. At the same time, being able to draw and produce images was seen as an important step of making a career in science, universities and administration. We will use the technical term “imago” – important in entomology as one of the stages of insect development – to reflect upon the processes and changes in human-insect relationships since the 18th century. Taking a longue durée as well as global perspective, we aim to show that scientific communities consisted of a large variety of actors. As media, techniques and materials differed widely in the period under consideration, we would also like to address questions concerning the materiality of insect images as well as the diversity of media.
Abstract ID :
Submission Type
Organized Session
Abstract Topic
Chronological Classification :
Cultural and cross-cultural contexts, including colonialism in general
Self-Designated Keywords :
Entomology, Illustration, Arts, Material Culture