Sailors, Savants, Naming: France and the Knowing of Oceania, 1756–1840

Bronwen Douglas

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    This paper addresses the tangled interplay of mariners’ experiences and prevailing theory in the French mapping, naming and classification of places and people in what is usually called Oceania (here, spanning the south Pacific Islands, Australia, New Guinea and New Zealand). Europeans have known of this this vast, mainly maritime zone, from the early 16th century as the ‘fifth part of the world’. Over the next four centuries, it was mostly called the South Sea/Pacific Ocean or Terra Australis/ Océanie. My main chronological focus is the classic era of French scientific voyaging under sail after 1750, bookended by the expeditions of Louis-Antoine de Bougainville and Jules Dumont d’Urville. I consider the creation, mutual appropriation and cross-fertilization of practical and abstract knowledges, their differential inscription in cartographic and written texts, and their uneven synthesis in 19th-century geographic and anthropological (or raciological) nomenclatures and classifications in France.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    EventIKUWA6 - Western Australian Maritime Museum, Fremantle, Western Australia
    Duration: 1 Jan 2016 → …


    Period1/01/16 → …

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