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Indigenous Knowledge in the Making of Science: Historia Naturalis Brasiliae (1648)

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "BRASILIAE" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: RAPENBURG 70
city: LEIDEN
postcode: 2311 EZ

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Netherlands [NL]
 Total cost 1˙475˙565 €
 EC max contribution 1˙475˙565 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2016-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2018
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2018-01-01   to  2022-12-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITEIT LEIDEN NL (LEIDEN) coordinator 1˙475˙565.00


 Project objective

This project is an interdisciplinary study of the role of indigenous knowledge in the making of science. Situated at the intersection of history and anthropology, its main research objective is to understand the transformation of information and practices of South American indigenous peoples into a body of knowledge that became part of the Western scholarly canon. It aims to explore, by means of a distinctive case-study, how European science is constructed in intercultural settings.

This project takes the book Historia Naturalis Brasiliae (HNB), published in 1648 by Piso and Marcgraf, as its central focus. The HNB is the first product of the encounter between early modern European scholarship and South American indigenous knowledge. In an encyclopedic format, it brings together information about the natural world, linguistics, and geography of South America as understood and experienced by indigenous peoples as well as enslaved Africans. Its method of construction embodies the intercultural connections that shaped practices of knowledge production in colonial settings across the globe, and is the earliest example of such in South America. With my research team, I will investigate how indigenous knowledge was appropriated and transformed into European science by focusing on ethnobotanics, ethnozoology, and indigenous material culture.

Since the HNB and its associated materials are kept in European museums and archives, this project is timely and relevant in light of the growing concern for the democratization of heritage. The current debate about the societal role of publicly-funded cultural institutions across Europe argues for the importance of multi-vocality in cultural and political processes. This project proposes a more inclusive interpretation and use of the materials in these institutions and thereby sets an example of how European heritage institutions can use their historical collections to reconnect the past with present-day societal concerns.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Mireia Alcantara-Rodriguez, Mariana Françozo, Tinde van Andel
Plant Knowledge in the Historia Naturalis Brasiliae (1648): Retentions of Seventeenth-Century Plant Use in Brazil
published pages: 390-404, ISSN: 0013-0001, DOI: 10.1007/s12231-019-09469-w
Economic Botany 73/3 2020-04-15
2019 Felipe Vander Velden
A mulher Tapuya e seu cão – Notas sobre as relações entre indígenas e cachorros no Brasil holandês
published pages: , ISSN: 1626-0252, DOI: 10.4000/nuevomundo.77800
Nuevo mundo mundos nuevos 2019-10-15

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The information about "BRASILIAE" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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