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Montagne « globale »

A comparative history of natural sciences about mountains, 16th to 20th centuries

Une histoire comparative de la recherche naturaliste en territoires de montagne, XVI-XX siècles

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Published on Friday, July 24, 2020 by Anastasia Giardinelli


Since the Renaissance, research on the indigenous nature in mountain regions has experienced a major boom. After the discovery of America, the Spanish crown started to claim „relaciones” (reports) from sailors, as well as from local officials, to gather information about thenature and people of the newly discovered territories. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the Andes, the Alps and the Himalayas were once a more central focus of natural research, as the travels to the Alps by Horace-Bénédictde Saussure (1740–1799), the Chimborazo expedition byAlexander von Humboldt (1769–1859), or the journey ofthe Jesuit Ippolito Desideri (1684–1733) to Tibet prove. The case studies of the conference IAAH 2020 focus on the natural history research in mountain regions from16th to 20th century, with a comparative approach, emphasizing the role of the actors, their practices, the circulation of objects and knowledge.


International conference of the International Association for Alpine History (IAAH)


Thursday, 3th of September 2020

  • 10:45-11:10, Welcome desk 
  • 11:10-11:30, Welcome and introduction, Simona Boscani Leoni (Univ. Lausanne/Univ. Bern)

Panel 1: Natural history and environment in European mountain areas: the Alps during the Renaissance

Chair: Karine Crousaz (Univ. Lausanne)

  • 11:30-11.50, Conrad Gessner und die Entmythologisierung der Alpen, Urs Leu (ZB Zürich)
  • 11:50-12:10, 2434 m – die Besteigung der Südtiroler Laugenspitze durch Regina Brandisund Katharina Botsch-Zwingenberg am 24. August 1552, Hannes Obermair (Univ. Innsbruck)
  • 12:10-12:30, Das kalte Element in der Kleinen Eiszeit. Eidgenössisch-bündnerische Schnee-,Gletscher- und Lawinenforschung im späten 16. Jahrhundert, Florian Hitz (ikg, Chur)
  • 12:30-13:00, Discussion

13:00-14:00, Lunch

Panel 2: Forestry and geology in European mountain areas, 18th-19th centuries

Chair: Emmanuel Reynard (Univ. Lausanne)

  • 14:00-14.20, Selvicoltura e pratica forestale nell’area alpina orientale (secoli XVIII-XIX):la circolazione dei saperi, Giacomo Bonan (Univ. Bologna), Claudio Lorenzini (Univ. Udine)
  • 14:20-14:40, From the Mont Cenis to the Mount Vesuvius and back again, Corinna Guerra (Univ. Bari)
  • 14:40-15:00, Geological riddles: the origins of geo-tourism in the Dolomite Mountains, William Bainbridge (University of Hertfordshire)
  • 15:00-15.30, Discussion

15:30-16:00, Pause café/Coffee break

Panel 3: Nature, botany, zoology and mineral water springs in the Alps,18th-20th centuries

Chair: Iago Otero (Univ. Lausanne)

  • 16:00-16:20, Les acteurs locaux de la recherche botanique en Valais au 18e siècle, Madline Favre (Univ. Lausanne)
  • 16:20-16:40, Mineralquellen – Bodenschätze aus den Bündner Bergen. Die Intensivierungder Erforschung der Quellwässer im 19. Jahrhundert, Karin Fuchs (ikg, Chur)
  • 16:40-17:00, Researching in the Italian Alps: zoologists of the University of Turin and natural sciences in the 19th century mountains, Carlo Bovolo (Univ. Piemonte Orientale, Vercelli)
  • 17:00-17:20, Explorations into the Dinaric Alps. A comparative periodization of natural history studies in the Austro-Hungarian Southeast provinces, 1815-1914, Brigitte Fuchs (Univ. Wien)
  • 17:20-18:00, Discussion

18:45-19:30, AIHA Committee meeting IAAH / General assembly IAAH

20:00 Dinner

Friday, 4th of September 2020

Panel 4 Natural science and mountains in Asia, 19th-20th centuries

Chair: Sandro Guzzi-Heeb (Univ. Lausanne)

  • 9:00-9:20, Natural science researches in the western Himalayas in the nineteenth century CE, Himani Upadhyaya (Ashoka Univ.)
  • 9:20-9:40, Drawing a natural frontier in the Pamir mountains: the Griesbach geological mission and the colonial demarcation of Afghanistan’s frontiers, Francesca Fuoli (Univ. Bern)
  • 9:40-10:00, Imposing the global: the Himalaya as a high-mountain ‘type’, Lachlan Fleetwood (Univ. Cambridge)
  • 10:00-10:30, Discussion

10:30-11:00, Coffee break

Panel 5 : Natural science and mountains in the Americas, 17th-19th centuries

Chair: Alexandre Elsig (EPFL, Lausanne)

  • 11:00-11:20, La Historica Relación del Reyno de Chile (1646) de Alonso de Ovalle, Stefano R. Torres (Univ. Lausanne)
  • 11:20-11:40,The Appalachian Mountains and the Philosophical Societies:The hearth of North American scientific inquiry, Barry L. Stiefel (Univ. Charleston)
  • 11:40-12:00,Discussion

12:00-13:00, Lunch

Panel 6: Natural science and mountains in the Americas, 17th-19th centuries

Chair: Francesca Fuoli (Univ. Bern)

  • 13:00-13:20,Luis Née’s botanical survey across southern Andes (1794), Paulo Antonio Zappia (Bern/Brasilia)
  • 13:20-13:40,Edward Whymper and Chimborazo: scientist authorityand ‘the art of mountaineering’ (1880-1892), Patricio Javier Aguirre Negrete (Univ. Andina S. Bolivar)
  • 13:40-14:00,Discussion

Panel 7 : Comparative perspectives

Chair: Jon Mathieu (Univ. Luzern)

  • 14:00-14:20, Des plantes « utiles » des Alpes aux Andes. Les enjeux d’une centralisation del’expertise sur les productions végétales des montagnes dans le royaume de France au XVIIIe siècle, Émilie-Anne Pepy (Univ. Savoie, Chambéry)
  • 14:20-14:40, Altitudes et santé au XIXe siècle. La circulation des savoirs de l’Himalaya aux hauts plateaux de l’Amérique latine en passant par les Alpes, Daniela Vaj (IHM, CHUV/Univ. Lausanne)
  • 14:40-15:00, La nature redécouverte : les scientifiques marcheurs dans les Alpes, de Horace-Bénédict de Saussure à Antoine de Baecque, Anne-Marie Granet-Abisset (Univ. Grenoble-Alpes)
  • 15:00-15:30, Discussion

15:30-15:45, Conclusion Wrap up, Simona Boscani Leoni (Univ. Lausanne/Univ. Bern)



Organizer: Simona Boscani Leoni,University of Lausanne and University of Bern


French/English (German/Italian)



  • Université de Lausanne
    Lausanne, Switzerland


  • Thursday, September 03, 2020
  • Friday, September 04, 2020


  • montagne, Alpes, Andes, sciences naturelles


  • Boscani Leoni Simona
    courriel : simona [dot] boscani [at] hist [dot] unibe [dot] ch

Information source

  • gianno' talamona vanessa
    courriel : vanessa [dot] gianno [at] usi [dot] ch

To cite this announcement

« Mountain "global" », Conference, symposium, Calenda, Published on Friday, July 24, 2020, https://calenda.org/792446

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