Main content

Expanding Earth

Travel, Encounter, and Exchange
  • Conference: To the Ends of the Earth

On Exhibit February 9, 2017 - May 19, 2017

Logo for the exhibit


Globalization is no recent phenomenon. People, ideas, and objects have always been on the move, encountering and changing one another as a result. This exhibit presents some of the textual and material residues of these encounters and travels, characteristic of past as well as present human activity and curiosity. Focusing on the years 1400 to 1800, the exhibit examines and looks beyond familiar Eurocentric ideas of exploration, conquest, and "discovery." Using manuscripts, printed books, drawings, maps, and artifacts, Expanding Earth highlights the movements of peoples, ideas, and goods across the world in their own words and in material objects.

Installation views of Expanding Earth

2017 Jay. I Kislak Program
Friday, March 3-4, 8:30 AM-6:00 PM

To the Ends of the Earth

Detail from Holy Land Travel Manuscript c. 1690 (UPenn CAJS Rar Ms 455)


To the Ends of the Earth will explore the transmission and translation of material and cultural practices, cartography, exploration, migration (forced and voluntary) and the changing geographies of liminal spaces. A group of international scholars from several disciplines will examine topics including textual production from early modern Italy to twentieth-century Africa, as well as the racialization of space from Victorian England to nineteenth-century California. Keynote address by Michael A. Gomez, New York University, a leading scholar of Africa and the African Diaspora. This exhibition takes place in conjunctions with the exhibition Expanding Earth: Travel, Encounter, and Exchange on display February 9-May 19, 2017.

  • Schedule

    Thursday, March 2, 2017
    5:30pm Symposium keynote address: Michael A. Gomez

    Michael A. Gomez, Professor of History, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University, will deliver the opening keynote address. Prof. Gomez is a leading scholar of Africa and the African Diaspora, having served as the director of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD) from its inception in 2000 to 2007. He has also served as chair of the History departments at both NYU and Spelman College, and served as President of UNESCO's International Scientific Committee for the Slave Route Project from 2009 to 2011. He is the author of several books, including Pragmatism in the Age of Jihad: The Precolonial State of Bundu (Cambridge University Press, 1992), Exchanging Our Country Marks: The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South (University of North Carolina Press, 1998) and Black Crescent: African Muslims in the Americas (Cambridge University Press, 2005, Black Caucus of the American Library Association 2006 Literary Awards Winner for Nonfiction Category)

    6:45pm Exhibition reception

    Friday, March 3, 2017

    8:30am Coffee and pastries

    9:00-10:30am Session 1

    Lawrence Dritsas, The University of Edinburgh
    'Regions Beyond': James Moon and missionary collectors in central Africa 1907-1910

    Jacco Dieleman, University of California, Los Angeles, Resident Fellow, Princeton
    The Geographical Trajectory of Ancient Textual Amulets

    Nicholas Gliserman, Haverford College
    Misdirection: A 1683 Map of Iroquoia

    Chair: Daniel Richter, University of Pennsylvania

    10:30-10:45 am Break

    10:45am-12:15pm Session 2

    Alisha J. Hines, Duke University
    Geographies of Freedom: Black Women's Traversals of the Legal, Physical, and Social Boundaries of Slavery and Freedom in the Mississippi River Valley

    Ruma Chopra, San Jose State University
    The Jamaican Maroons and the Meanings of Migration

    Michael Verney, University of New Hampshire
    'The Universal Yankee Nation': Proslavery Exploration in South America, 1850-1860

    Chair: Alexis Broderick Neumann, University of Pennsylvania

    12:15-1:30pm Lunch (on your own)

    1:30-2:45pm Session 3

    Alison Howard, University of Pennsylvania
    The Never-Ending Earth: Terraforming for Survival and Conquest

    Trycia Bazinet, Carleton University, Ottawa
    Bring it Back to Earth: Decolonization and Settler-Colonial Logics in Space Exploration

    Chair: Lynne Farrington, University of Pennsylvania

    2:45-3:00pm Break

    3:00-5:00pm Session 4

    Sarah L. Reeser, University of Toronto
    Parts Unknown, Sights Unseen: Maps as Object and Authority in Peter Martyr d'Anghiera's De Orbe Novo

    Katherine Parker, Hakluyt Society
    From mysterious antipodes to familiar settings: cartography and the narrative of the Anson circumnavigation (1740-44) in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

    Jinsong Guo, Princeton University
    What the Ancients Have Never Done: The Chinese Measurements of Longitude and Altitude under the Mongol Empire and the Early Yuan Dynasty

    Nancy Reynolds, Washington University in St. Louis
    Into the Desert Waste: Fixing Egypt's Frontiers

    Chair: Brian Vivier, University of Pennsylvania

    Saturday, March 4, 2017

    10:00am Coffee and pastries

    10:30am-12:00pm Session 5

    Adrien Zakar, Columbia University
    Mountain Science and the Society of Jesus in Syria and Lebanon (1900-1924)

    Hitomi Omata Rappo, Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies, Boston College
    Visitors from the 'Antipodes': The Japanese embassy of 1585 as a proof of the triumph of Roman Catholicism

    Chair: Mitch Fraas, University of Pennsylvania

    12:00-1:30pm Lunch (on your own)

    1:45-3:15pm Session 6

    Kathryn Taylor, University of Pennsylvania
    Reading Ethnography as an Ambassador: The Library and Embassies of Leonardo Donà

    Kirsten Schultz, Seton Hall University
    Out of Date: Imperial geography, writing, and authority in eighteenth-century Brazil

    Lucas Wood, Indiana University at Bloomington
    'Estrangez contreez'?: The Foreign, the Familiar and the Production of History in the Fifteenth-Century Canary Islands

    Chair: Ann Moyer, University of Pennsylvania

    3:15-3:30pm Break

    3:15-5:00pm Session 7

    Michael Verney, University of New Hampshire
    'The Universal Yankee Nation': Proslavery Exploration in South America, 1850-1860

    Camille Suarez, University of Pennsylvania
    California Fault Lines: Constructing Racial Identities and Citizenship in 19th Century Southern California

    Gary McDonogh, Bryn Mawr College and Cindy Wong, College of Staten Island/City University of New York
    At the Edge of the City: In Deepest Chinatown

    Chair: Gabriel Raeburn, University of Pennsylvania

    5:00pm Reception to follow