Event Information

MCHOTSE - Ernesto Capello
Thursday, October 4, 2012
4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
2110 Taliaferron Hall
For More Information:
Betsy Mendelsohn
301 405 0527

"The Second French Geodesic Mission to Ecuador & Commemorative Visual Culture, 1901-1906"

Dr. Ernesto Capello, Smithsonian's Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology & Macalester College

Refreshments at 4:00pm.

Please email the organizer to request the paper we will discuss.

The second colloquium in the monthly Maryland Colloquium in the History of Technology, Science and Environment (MCHOTSE) series will feature Ernie Capello, circulating a paper about his new book project.

The paper discusses the symbolic roots of pyramids, which were installed by French scientists to translate abstract concepts geodetic triangulation, longitudinal meridians, the celestial and terrestrial equators into three-dimensional objects of political import. These 18th century survey artifacts were subsequently reinterpreted by 19th century Ecuadorians, travelers, scientists, and artists, including seminal figures like Alexander von Humboldt and Frederic Church. The 1901-1906 surveying mission faced challenges on the ground that propelled the expansion of pyramidal monuments. Both French and Ecuadorian scientists deployed this visual culture in a bid to establish authenticity in the face of serious opposition from conservative Ecuadorian activists and indigenous communities, each of which opposed the geodetic measurements.

The MCHOTSE welcomes new participants. Please email Betsy Mendelsohn, Director, Science Technology & Society Programs and organizer of MCHOTSE in 2012-13, to learn more.

Home-made refreshments at 4:00-4:30pm; parking is available at meters on Preinkert Drive and Chapel Drive and in Mowatt Lane Parking Garage. Please contact the organizer with any logistical questions.


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