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Collection Management Seminar


Making the Insect World: What historical entomology texts can tell us about the cultural dimensions of insect-human relations


Dr. Adam Dodd,

Postdoctoral Research Fellow,

Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages,

University of Oslo


THURSDAY 24th November 2011,

Flett Lecture Theatre, NHM, South Kensington

14:30 -16:00


Dr Dodd will outline his postdoctoral research work undertaken in collaboration with the NHM Centre for Arts and Humanities Research (CAHR) #and the Library and Archives of the Natural History Museum. Incorporating numerous examples from a range of entomological texts,  dating from the early seventeenth century onward, he will outline his investigation of what these texts can tell us about the historical role of media and culture in the establishment and reinforcement of what might be called an ‘insect-human rapport’. In line with the broader research questions of the Oslo-based animal studies project,  Dr Dodd will discuss the extent to which insects have been historically figured as ‘objects’ and ‘signs’. On the one hand, this involves engagement with insect specimen collections, and on the other, with the analysis of the representational conventions of entomological illustrations. In the middle, perhaps, are some of the volumes found in the Sloane herbaria – which include insect bodies, arranged into rudimentary scenes with plant specimens, pressed and preserved between the pages of books.


The talk will provide an example of the ways in which the NHM Library collection may inform and facilitate new interdisciplinary work in the humanities, and in particular, historically-oriented work undertaken from a media and cultural studies perspective.



Tea and coffee will be available in the seminar room lobby area after the talk.


Suggestions for seminar speakers are always most welcome. Please contact the organiser Clare Valentine (



For additional details on attending this seminar see

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