RGS-IBG Annual International Conference

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Geologists on tour: representing the scenic and scientific gaze of earth scientists

This paper follows geologists on the move. Its focus is on two nineteenth-century scholars who composed popular narratives based upon their geological excursions, and on how—in the course of their efforts to represent, describe, and explain the landscapes they encountered—they revealed and negotiated their dual positions as sojourners and scientist, tourists and experts. Attending to the North American travels of Charles Lyell (1797–1875) and Joseph Jukes (1811–1869), this paper considers how each author differently expressed what might be thought of as their “scenic” and “scientific” gaze in descriptions of that continent’s landscape which were, at turns, aesthetic and technical. In examining the popular narration of travel and landscape, this paper explores the tension between authors’ subjective experiences and their hope to objectively abstract them. In so doing, this paper draws upon recent scholarship concerned with the role of visualization in earth sciences as well as upon work in book history which has attended to the textual and pictorial representation of travel and exploration.
Period26 Aug 200928 Aug 2009
Event typeConference
LocationManchester, United KingdomShow on map