Division and Affinity: Visualizing Diversity in Natural History, 16th ‒ 17th Centuries

Research Seminar

  • Online event via Zoom
  • Data: 09.12.2020
  • Ora: 15:00 - 17:00
  • Relatore: Staffan Müller-Wille, Niklaas Goersch
  • Luogo: Online via zoom
  • Contatto: boehm@biblhertz.it
Division and Affinity: Visualizing Diversity in Natural History, 16th ‒ 17th Centuries
A key development in early modern natural history that so far has received very little attention is the introduction of various dichotomous and tabular diagrams to illustrate classifications of plants and animals in the early modern period. Joachim Jungius (1587-1657), professor and some-time director of the academic school Johanneum in Hamburg, was one of the first scholars to use dichotomous diagrams to carry out a systematic analysis of the morphology and taxonomy of plants.

One and a half centuries later, another teacher at the Hamburg Johanneum, Paul Dietrich Giseke (1741-1796), published a radically different kind of diagram. It was entitled Tabula genealogico-geographica affinitatum plantarum, and arranged plant families in analogy to a map. We are going to analyze how these visualizations were crafted, whether there were models or precedents in other domains, and what purposes they served. Our guiding question will be: Why Hamburg?


Staffan Müller-Wille: PhD in Philosophy, Bielefeld, 1997. Has held positions at MPI for History of Science, Berlin, University of Exeter (2004-19), University of Lübeck (since 2012) and University of Cambridge (since 2020).

Niklaas Goersch: B.A. in history (Marburg (Lahn)). Member of the project "Archaeocopter & Archaeonautic" (Dresden/Berlin). Student Assistant (Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut, FU Berlin). M.A. in history (Berlin). Assistant (DAI). Since 2019 Research Assistant (Luebeck).


Online participation possible via zoom. Please register following THIS LINK.


Scientific Organization: Sietske Fransen



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