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From useful species to ornamental plants: European representations of the tropical world in the 19th century

Grant number: 22/13567-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): October 09, 2023
Effective date (End): April 08, 2024
Field of knowledge:Interdisciplinary Subjects
Principal Investigator:Alessandra El Far
Grantee:Alessandra El Far
Host Investigator: Pedro Cardim
Host Institution: Escola de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (EFLCH). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Guarulhos. Guarulhos , SP, Brazil
Research place: Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal  


The main objective of this research project is to recover and analyze a diverse set of texts and images about exotic and ornamental plants, conveyed to the general reading public, in order to reflect on the European representations around the tropical world, which, within a dialectical relationship, contributed significantly to the rooting of the notions of civilization and progress in nineteenth-century Europe. To this end, I will adopt as my starting point the systematic reading of Portuguese newspapers, magazines, almanacs, manuals and guides that talked about the Brazilian flora, from the last decades of the eighteenth century until the 1880s, a period in which the interest in useful and scientific knowledge of plants gradually gives way to the growing search for rare species from the tropics that started to act as symbols of social distinction and also imperial sovereignty. My proposal is, therefore, to read drawings, illustrations and narratives, especially Portuguese ones, due to the close historical relationship between Brazil and Portugal, seeking to illuminate the mechanisms of representation, in the context of the imperialism, crossed by the social markers of race, gender and class, paying attention, at the same time, to the transnational connection networks in the production and circulation of discourses, images, practices and knowledge. (AU)

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