Thursday 22 July, 2010
5:30 for 6:30pm
Reception: Nicholson Museum
Lecture: Ward Lecture Theatre
History Room S223,Quadrangle Building,University of Sydney.
The Circumnavigating Body: Why it Hurts to go around the World
Joyce E. Chaplin, Harvard University
For the past 500 years–by ship, airplane, spaceship, and many other forms of transport–humans have traveled around the world. These travels should be prime evidence of humanity’s increasing command over the planet. But the humans who have gone around the world have often concluded that the planet controls them. To circle the Earth, humans must remove themselves from environments where they ordinarily live. That removal has been painful: early-modern sailors suffered from scurvy, clipper-ship passengers vomited from seasickness, frequent-fliers are plagued by jet-lag, and astronauts struggle with Space Adaptation Syndrome. Testimony about those bodily experiences has been historically important for the definition of humans as terrestrial creatures, beings that are distinctively adapted to the earthly parts of a terraqueous globe.
Joyce E. Chaplin is James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History at Harvard University. A specialist in early American history, she is the author of An Anxious Pursuit: Agricultural Innovation and Modernity in the Lower South, 1730-1815 (1993), Subject Matter: Technology, the Body, and Science on the Anglo-American Frontier, 1500-1676 (2001), and The First Scientific American: Benjamin Franklin and the Pursuit of Genius (2006), which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times book prize and winner of the Annibel Jenkins Biography Prize of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. She has also published many articles on topics in intellectual history, environmental history,the history of science, and maritime history. Presently, she is working on a history of around-the-world travel, from Magellan the Spanish explorer to Magellan the GPS.
The Ward Lecture honours the late John Manning Ward AO. Professor Ward was a distinguished historian, serving as Challis Professor of History from 1948 to 1979. He steered the History Department through a period of scarce resources into an era of expansion. Today it is one of the largest and most productive in Australia. Professor Ward took office as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney in 1981 and retired from that position on 31 January 1990.