Encountering Worlds in Transformation: Knowledge Production and Anthropological Comparison during the HMS Beagle’s Journey through the Global South
The history of collecting and knowledge production; first encounters; ontology and alterity; nature and knowledge; transformation and co-production; creation and loss; cultural heritage and museums; repatriation; language and meaning; anthropological comparison; collections and landscapes with contested histories; archaeology and anthropology; art history; natural history
My work centres around collections-based research in the archaeology and anthropology of the Global South, with especial attention to the Americas. At the intersection of anthropology and natural history, my fieldwork involves an examination of the written, visual, and physical materials created and collected during the HMS Beagle's second voyage (1831-1836) through the Global South. By adopting an anthropological approach to analyse the expedition often heralded as the scientific voyage of discovery that shaped Charles Darwin's theories on evolution, I aim to move beyond a singular narrative and explore the diverse histories of the people, places, objects, and non-human entities present during the journey. This investigation of the nature of first encounters, colonial era collecting practices, and the production of knowledge engages with themes such as transformation, creation and loss, ontology and alterity, nature and culture, time and space. In doing so, I seek to contribute to discussions about the politics of knowledge and decolonisation, the repatriation of natural and cultural materials, and the language of anthropological comparison.