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Article

Skulls and blossoms: Collecting and the meaning of scientific objects as resources from the 18th to the 20th century

Centaurus. 2018. Vol. 60. No. 4. P. 231-237.
Loskutova M., Fedotova A., Klemun M.

The volume focuses on the ways in which natural objects were transformed into specimens, assembled as collections and were defined by a broad variety of cultural, political, and social contexts of the eighteenth – twentieth century Europe. The contributors examine a broad range of natural history collections – from mineralogical collections of the pre-revolutionary France to craniological specimens gathered by nineteenth century naturalists in the Caucasus. Geographically, the volume considers two distinctive geographic areas. Some of the papers focus on lesser known museums and botanical gardens in France and Belgium, while other papers deal with collections gathered in those parts of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus that in the eighteenth to nineteenth centuries were parts of the Russian empire. The authors analyse the political dimension of the collection-making process, its spatial and material aspects, the meaning of collections in academic research and popular imagination, the technicalities and symbolic aspects of the object’s transformation into a specimen, as well as the relations between specimens and collections