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Knowledge Transfer And Cultural Appropriation: Georg Everhard Rumphius's 'D'Amboinsche Rariteitkamer' (1705)

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Chapter Summary

The economic, military, and commercial system centred on Ambon was accompanied by the creation of a knowledge network. This chapter analyses one of these works - D'Amboinsche Rariteitkamer (The Ambonese Curiosity Cabinet; 1705), a description of crustaceans, molluscs and minerals on Ambon and the surrounding islands - in its function as a medium of knowledge transfer. It examines the way Georg Everhard Rumphius 's descriptions of nature embody symbolic processes of translation and appropriation, occurring not only between cultures but also between materiality and mediality. The chapter focuses on the actor-network theory of the French anthropologist of science Bruno Latour. In investigating the mechanisms of knowledge transfer and accumulation in the process of European expansion, Latour showed how interacting political, economic and scientific networks created the conditions under which information collected during expeditions abroad made Europe into a centre of knowledge, science and power.

Keywords: actor-network theory; Ambon; D'Amboinsche Rariteitkamer; Georg Everhard Rumphius; knowledge transfer



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